Conserving ground-dwelling beetles in an endangered woodland community: Multi-scale habitat effects on assemblage diversity Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Patterns of biodiversity are influenced by habitat features at multiple spatial scales, yet few studies have used a multi-scale approach to examine ground-dwelling beetle diversity patterns. We trapped and quantified ground-dwelling beetle assemblages at two spatial scales: (1) microhabitat elements, represented by open ground, ground under trees and ground next to logs and (2) macrohabitat, represented by three vegetation types in a box-gum grassy woodland in south-eastern Australia. Species richness and evenness was highest at samples from under trees and lowest at samples in the open. At the macrohabitat scale, species richness and evenness did not differ among vegetation types. Assemblage composition was significantly different between trees, logs and open elements. Assemblage composition was different only between vegetation types with contrasting high and low shrub cover. Estimation of true species richness indicated assemblages at logs may have a higher number of species compared to trees and open elements, and implied greater spatial heterogeneity in assemblages at logs. Significant spatial autocorrelation in beetle assemblages was detected for logs at up to 400m, but not for ground under trees or in the open. In agreement with previous studies, a mix of vegetation types at the macrohabitat scale is important for beetle conservation. Assemblage composition, however, appears to be more closely linked with habitat elements at the microhabitat scale, where logs support a high diversity of beetle species. This strongly supports the idea that restoring logs to box-gum grassy woodlands would be useful for increasing beetle species richness and assemblage heterogeneity.

authors

  • Barton, Philip S
  • Manning, Adrian D
  • Gibb, Heloise
  • Lindenmayer, David B
  • Cunningham, Saul A

publication date

  • August 2009

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