It is widely accepted that climate change constrains biota. Yet, because of the lack of consistent multisite and multitaxon surveys, few studies have addressed general rules about how climate change impacts on structure and diversity of animal communities. Especially, the relative influence of nonclimatic anthropogenic disturbances on this impact is fairly unknown. Here, we present for the first time a meta‐analysis assessing the effect of global warming on stream organisms. Fish communities of large rivers in France undergoing various anthropogenic pressures showed significant increase in proportions of warm‐water species and of specific richness during the last 15–25 years. Conversely, the equitability decreased, indicating a gradual decrease of the number of dominant species. Finally, the total abundance increased, coupled with rejuvenation and changes in size‐structure of the communities. Interestingly, most of these effects were not depressed by the strength of nonclimatic anthropogenic disturbances. Conversely, geographical location of communities and especially closeness of natural barriers to migration could influence their response to climate change. Indeed, increase in the proportion of southern species seemed hindered at sites located close to the southern limit of the European species' geographical ranges. This work provides new evidence that climate change have deep impacts on communities which, by overtaking the effects of nonclimatic anthropogenic disturbances, could be more substantial than previously thought. Overall, our results stress the importance of considering climate change impacts in studies addressing community dynamics, even in disturbed sites.
daufresne; hydropower; hydropower schemes; total abundance; climate change; bugey; sampling sites; rhone; southern species; kuttel; global change biology; anthropogenic; equitability; study area; blackwell publishing; ecology; authors journal compilation; large rivers; nonclimatic; effect sizes; cpue; study areas; bonferroni; cruas; tricastin; chinon; brusle; quignard; warm water; high temperature; nogent; biological year; nonclimatic anthropogenic disturbances; water temperature; different study areas; lethal temperature; brusle quignard; optimal range; climate warming; geographical range; parmesan yohe; warmwater species; community structure; press disturbances; water quality; reproduction temperature; climate change impacts; interannual scale; global warming; philippart vranken; different sampling sites; shannon equitability index; global; small size species; biological variables; froese pauly; rhone river; thermal preferences; common species; total number; southern limit; study periods; biological years; community structures; white bream; effect size; silurus glanis; mouthon daufresne; american naturalist; pyper peterman; upper rhone river; study area sampling site combinations; northern limit; keith allardi; black bullhead; high temperatures; total cpue; relative position; maximum reproduction temperature; rhodeus sericeus; different species; average cpue; larval growth; cyprinid species; linear regression; hatching date; gurevitch hedges; next calendar year; categorical variables; unit effort; sokal rohlf; species abundance; correlated correlation test; drastic increase; continuous sampling; carassius gibelio; global increase; development core team; point abundance sampling; open diamonds; ameiurus melas; seine rivers; alban tricastin; global abundance; mills mann; maximum size; general increase; gradual climate change; european water framework directive; saint alban; previous studies; ecological impacts; present address; geographical ranges; many studies; aquatic ecosystems; kinsolving bain; phillips johnston; geographical location; global change; consecutive sampling sites; dominant species; lower rhone; cambridge university press; climatic factors; centrale nucleaire; fish biology; general rules; fish assemblage recovery; john wiley sons