Does plankton diversity peak at intermediate salinities? Comment on Telesh et al. (2011)

Robert Ptacnik*, Kalle Olli, Sirpa Lehtinen, Timo Tamminen, Tom Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Based on an analysis of published data, Telesh et al. (2011; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 421:1-11) claim that plankton diversity peaks at intermediate salinities in the Baltic Sea. They thereby chal-lenge Remane's curve, which was originally derived from observations of macrozoobenthos (Remane 1934; Zool Anz 7(Suppl):34-74), and conclude that high speciation rates allowed for development of high diversity in microscopic species in the Baltic, as opposed to larger organisms. However, instead of performing appropriate statistical analyses, Telesh et al. merely pool species lists within salinity bands, thereby obtaining patterns that reflect sampling effort rather than species richness. Moreover, Telesh et al. derive patterns of richness to a considerable extent from coastal sites, including bays and lagoons, which are not representative of the corresponding salinities in the open Baltic Sea. We pro-pose that spatially representative data are required for elucidating patterns of plankton richness along the freshwater-marine continuum. Moreover, the analysis should address both species rich-ness and community composition by appropriate statistical tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-292
Number of pages2
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2011


  • Baltic Sea
  • Plankton diversity
  • Remane's curve
  • Salinity


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