Skip to content

Partitioning the impact of environmental drivers and species interactions in dynamic aquatic communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Kees Musters
  • Oleksandra Ieromina
  • Henrik Barmentlo
  • Ellard Hunting
  • Maarten Schrama
  • Ellen Cieraad
  • Martina G. Vijver
  • Peter M. Van Bodegom
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02910
Number of pages17
Issue number11
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Sep 2019
DatePublished (current) - 12 Nov 2019


Temperate aquatic communities are highly diverse and seasonally variable, due to internal biotic processes and environmental drivers, including human‐induced stressors. The impact of drivers on species abundance is supposed to differ fundamentally depending on whether populations are experiencing limitations, which may shift over the season. However, an integrated understanding of how drivers structure communities seasonally is currently lacking. In order to partition the effect of drivers, we used random forests to quantify interactions between all taxa and environmental factors using macrofaunal data from 18 agricultural ditches sampled over two years. We found that, over the agricultural season, taxon abundance became increasingly better predicted by the abundances of co‐occurring taxa and nutrients compared to other abiotic factors, including pesticides. Our approach provides fundamental insights in community dynamics and highlights the need to consider changes in species interactions to understand the effects of anthropogenic stressors.

    Research areas

  • abiotic, anthropogenic stressors, biotic, bottom‐up, random forest, seasonal change, trophic level

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Wiley at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 2.8 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups