, Volume 630, Issue 1, pp 127–138 | Cite as

Macrophyte community structure and species occurrence in relation to environmental determinants in the ephemeral aquatic habitats of Gavdos, Greece

  • I. N. Vogiatzakis
  • G. Kazakis
  • D. Ghosn
Primary research paper


The aims of this study were to explore the environmental factors that determine the distribution of plant communities in temporary rock pools and provide a quantitative analysis of vegetation–environment relationships for five study sites on the island of Gavdos, southwest of Crete, Greece. Data from 99 rock pools were collected and analysed using Two-Way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN), Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) and Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) to identify the principal communities and environmental gradients that are linked to community distribution. A total of 46 species belonging to 21 families were recorded within the study area. The dominant families were Labiatae, Gramineae and Compositae while therophytes and chamaephytes were the most frequent life forms. The samples were classified into six community types using TWINSPAN, which were also corroborated by CCA analysis. The principal gradients for vegetation distribution, identified by CCA, were associated with water storage and water retention ability, as expressed by pool perimeter and water depth. Generalised Additive Models (GAMs) were employed to identify responses of four dominant rock pool species to water depth. The resulting species response curves showed niche differentiation in the cases of Callitriche pulchra and Tillaea vaillantii and revealed competition between Zannichellia pedunculata and Chara vulgaris. The use of classification in combination with ordination techniques resulted in a good discrimination between plant communities. Generalised Additive Models are a powerful tool in investigating species response curves to environmental gradients. The methodology adopted can be employed for improving baseline information on plant community ecology and distribution in Mediterranean ephemeral pools.


CCA Crete Generalised Additive Models Ordination Rock pools Species response curves 



This research was funded by the LIFE Nature Programme Actions for the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in Crete (LIFE04NAT/GR/000105). We are grateful to Mrs. Christina Fournaraki, curator at the Herbarium of MAICh, for her help in species identification, and two anonymous reviewers whose comments resulted in an improved manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Agri-Environmental ResearchSchool of Agriculture Policy and Development, University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ManagementMediterranean Agronomic Institute of ChaniaChaniaGreece

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