Spatio-temporal variations in wetlandscape attributes and connectivity were investigated in parallel by employing a network-based approach. Each wetland is conceived as a node, and a link between a given pair of nodes is established only if the gap distance is less than or equal to a threshold distance defined by the dispersal ability of a given species [16,45]. For each time step, we built the emergent eco-hydrological network by connecting only those wetlands occupied by species that are located within a given threshold distance, D. These networks (or series of fragmented networks) represent the eco-hydrological corridors for species to travel across the wetlandscape.

We characterized the structural and functional topology of the eco-hydrological networks using node degree, k, node betweenness, β, and network length, L. The former quantifies the number of links incident to a node. From an ecological perspective, patches with lower k are more prone to extinction compared with patches with higher k. Node betweenness quantifies the number of times a node acts as a bridge along the shortest path between two other nodes. Nodes with large β serve as stepping-stones for species dispersal across the network. To estimate the spatio-temporal variability of the emergent eco-hydrological network, we also used the concept of network length duration curve (NLDC) inspired by the analogous concept of the stream length duration curve in ephemeral river networks [46]. Network length is calculated as the shortest path between the two most distant nodes in the network (i.e. network diameter). The NLDC represents the inverse of the cumulative exceedance probability of the network length and could provide critical information for watershed management by representing the variation in the availability and reliability of the emergent eco-hydrological corridor for the focal species.

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