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Investigating the relationships between the distribution of British ground beetle species (Coleoptera, Carabidae) and temperature, precipitation and altitude

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Abstract Aims 

We examine the relationships between the distribution of British ground beetle species and climatic and altitude variables with a view to developing models for evaluating the impact of climate change. Location 

Data from 1684 10-km squares in Britain were used to model species–climate/altitude relationships. A validation data set was composed of data from 326 British 10-km squares not used in the model data set. Methods 

The relationships between incidence and climate and altitude variables for 137 ground beetle species were investigated using logistic regression. The models produced were subjected to a validation exercise using the Kappa statistic with a second data set of 30 species. Distribution patterns for four species were predicted for Britain using the regression equations generated. Results 

As many as 136 ground beetle species showed significant relationships with one or more of the altitude and climatic variables but the amount of variation explained by the models was generally poor. Models explaining 20% or more of the variation in species incidence were generated for only 10 species. Mean summer temperature and mean annual temperature were the best predictors for eight and six of these 10 species respectively. Few models based on altitude, annual precipitation and mean winter temperature were good predictors of ground beetle species distribution. The results of the validation exercise were mixed, with models for four species showing good or moderate fits whilst the remainder were poor. Main conclusions 

Whilst there were many significant relationships between British ground beetle species distributions and altitude and climatic variables, these variables did not appear to be good predictors of ground beetle species distribution. The poor model performance appears to be related to the coarse nature of the response and predictor data sets and the absence of key predictors from the models.

Keywords: Altitude; Britain; Carabidae; climate; ground beetles; logistic regression; model validation; species distribution models; temperature

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, Devonshire Building, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne 2: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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