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Van Noordwijk C.G.E.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Van Noordwijk C.G.E.,Ghent University | Verberk W.C.E.P.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Turin H.,Loopkeverstichting SFOC | And 16 more authors.
Ecology | Year: 2015

In the face of ongoing habitat fragmentation, species-area relationships (SARs) have gained renewed interest and are increasingly used to set conservation priorities. An important question is how large habitat areas need to be to optimize biodiversity conservation. The relationship between area and species richness is explained by colonization-extinction dynamics, whereby smaller sites harbor smaller populations, which are more prone to extinction than the larger populations sustained by larger sites. These colonization-extinction dynamics are predicted to vary with trophic rank, habitat affinity, and dispersal ability of the species. However, empirical evidence for the effect of these species characteristics on SARs remains inconclusive. In this study we used carabid beetle data from 58 calcareous grassland sites to investigate how calcareous grassland area affects species richness and activity density for species differing in trophic rank, habitat affinity, and dispersal ability. In addition, we investigated how SARs are affected by the availability of additional calcareous grassland in the surrounding landscape. Beetle species richness and activity density increased with calcareous grassland area for zoophagous species that are specialists for dry grasslands and, to a lesser extent, for zoophagous habitat generalists. Phytophagous species and zoophagous forest and wet-grassland specialists were not affected by calcareous grassland area. The dependence of species on large single sites increased with decreasing dispersal ability for species already vulnerable to calcareous grassland area. Additional calcareous grassland in the landscape had a positive effect on local species richness of both dry-grassland specialists and generalists, but this effect was restricted to a few hundred meters. Our results demonstrate that SARs are affected by trophic rank, habitat affinity, and dispersal ability. These species characteristics do not operate independently, but should be viewed in concert. In addition, species' responses depend on the landscape context. Our study suggests that the impact of habitat area on trophic interactions may be larger than previously anticipated. In small habitat fragments surrounded by a hostile matrix, food chains may be strongly disrupted. This highlights the need to conserve continuous calcareous grassland patches of at least several hectares in size. © 2015 by the Ecological Society of America. Source


Johan Kotze D.,University of Helsinki | Brandmayr P.,University of Calabria | Casale A.,University of Sassari | Dauffy-Richard E.,IRSTEA | And 16 more authors.
ZooKeys | Year: 2011

'Carabidologists do it all' (Niemelä 1996a) is a phrase with which most European carabidologists are familiar. Indeed, during the last half a century, professional and amateur entomologists have contributed enormously to our understanding of the basic biology of carabid beetles. The success of the field is in no small part due to regular European Carabidologists' Meetings, which started in 1969 in Wijster, the Netherlands, with the 14 th meeting again held in the Netherlands in 2009, celebrating the 40 th anniversary of the first meeting and 50 years of long-term research in the Dwingelderveld. This paper offers a subjective summary of some of the major developments in carabidology since the 1960s. Taxonomy of the family Carabidae is now reasonably established, and the application of modern taxonomic tools has brought up several surprises like elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Progress has been made on the ultimate and proximate factors of seasonality and timing of reproduction, which only exceptionally show non-seasonality. Triggers can be linked to evolutionary events and plausibly explained by the "taxon cycle" theory. Fairly little is still known about certain feeding preferences, including granivory and ants, as well as unique life history strategies, such as ectoparasitism and predation on higher taxa. The study of carabids has been instrumental in developing metapopulation theory (even if it was termed differently). Dispersal is one of the areas intensively studied, and results show an intricate interaction between walking and flying as the major mechanisms. The ecological study of carabids is still hampered by some unresolved questions about sampling and data evaluation. It is recognised that knowledge is uneven, especially concerning larvae and species in tropical areas. By their abundance and wide distribution, carabid beetles can be useful in population studies, bioindication, conservation biology and landscape ecology. Indeed, 40 years of carabidological research have provided so much data and insights, that among insects - and arguably most other terrestrial organisms - carabid beetles are one of the most worthwhile model groups for biological studies. © DJ Kotze et al. Source

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