Environmental drivers of mollusc assemblage diversity in a system of lowland lentic habitats.
Freshwater mollusc diversity has repeatedly been found to peak in lowland stagnant waters, which are highly exposed to human-made degradation and the spread of non-native species. Despite the increasing loss of these habitats, little is known about the main predictors of their mollusc diversity patterns. Therefore, we aimed to determine the environmental drivers of mollusc assemblage variation between and within sites by sampling 62 water bodies in the Dyje River floodplain (south-eastern Czechia). We measured 14 environmental variables, categorized as site-specific or plot-specific. Species richness and abundances were analysed by GLM and GEE; species compositional variance was assessed by NMDS and db-RDA ordinations. Mollusc species richness, ranging between 0 and 15 species per site, and abundance sharply decreased towards high trophy sites, with the chlorophyll-a concentration and water pH highly correlated with species counts. Species compositional variation was driven mainly by water trophy and the quality of organic detritus. Site heterogeneity turned out to significantly control local assemblages of molluscs, while the presence of individual species seemed to be filtered by site trophy and the shoreline length. Thus, to maintain high regional diversity of aquatic molluscs in lowland agricultural landscapes, the presence of low trophy sites seems to be essential.