Arthropod traits and assemblages differ between core patches, transient stepping-stones and landscape corridors

Pedley, Scott and Dolman, Paul (2020) Arthropod traits and assemblages differ between core patches, transient stepping-stones and landscape corridors. Landscape Ecology, 35 (4). 937–952. ISSN 0921-2973

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Abstract

Context:  Restoring landscape connectivity can mitigate fragmentation and improve population resilience, but functional equivalence of contrasting elements is poorly understood. Evaluating biodiversity outcomes requires examining assemblage-responses across contrasting taxa.  Objectives:  We compared arthropod species and trait composition between contrasting open-habitat network elements: core patches, corridors (allowing individual dispersal and population percolation), and transient stepping-stones (potentially enhancing meta-population dynamics).  Methods:  Carabids and spiders were sampled from core patches of grass-heath habitat (n=24 locations across eight sites), corridors (trackways, n=15) and recently-replanted clear-fells (transient patches, n=19) set in a forest matrix impermeable to open-habitat arthropods. Species and trait (habitat association, diet, body size, dispersal ability) composition were compared by ordination and fourth corner analyses.  Results:  Each network element supported distinct arthropod assemblages with differing functional trait composition. Core patches were dominated by specialist dry-open habitat species while generalist and woodland species contributed to assemblages in connectivity elements. Nevertheless, transient patches (and to a lesser degree, corridors) supported dry-open species characteristic of the focal grass-heath sites. Trait associations differed markedly among the three elements. Dispersal mechanisms and their correlates differed between taxa, but dry-open species in transient patches were characterised by traits favouring dispersal (large running hunter spiders and large, winged, herbivorous carabids), in contrast to wingless carabids in corridors. Conclusions:  Core patches, dispersal corridors and transient stepping-stones are not functionally interchangeable within this system. Semi-natural core patches supported a filtered subset of the regional fauna. Evidence for enhanced connectivity through percolation (corridors) or meta-population dynamics (stepping stones) differed between the two taxa.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: carabid beetle,dispersal corridors,ecological networks,environmental-change,ecological network,functional-responses,ground beetles coleoptera,habitat fragmentation,life-history traits,landscape connectivity,movement corridors,open-habitat network,plantation forest,population-densities,species traits
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2020 01:31
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 13:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/74582
DOI: 10.1007/s10980-020-00991-0

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