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Using datasets of different taxonomic detail to assess the influence of floodplain characteristics on terrestrial arthropod assemblages

Authors: Schipper, Aafke1; Lotterman, Kim2; Geertsma, Marten3; Leuven, Rob2; Hendriks, A.2

Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 19, Number 7, June 2010 , pp. 2087-2110(24)

Publisher: Springer

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Abstract:

Four arthropod datasets of different taxonomic detail were compared on their discriminatory power for various environmental characteristics in a lowland floodplain area along the river Rhine. The arthropod datasets comprised ground-dwelling arthropods at class-order level (n = 10), beetle families (n = 32), ground beetle genera (n = 30) and ground beetle species (n = 68). Environmental characteristics included vegetation characteristics, hydro-topographic setting, physical–chemical soil properties and soil contamination levels. Relations between arthropod assemblages and environmental factors were assessed with variance partitioning: a multivariate statistical approach that attributes variation in community composition to specific explaining variables. The variance partitioning showed comparable results for the four datasets. A substantial part of the variation (31–38%) could be ascribed to vegetation characteristics. Variance could further be attributed to physical–chemical soil properties (7–10%), hydro-topographic setting (3–7%) and soil metal contamination (2–4%). Thus, in strongly heterogeneous landscapes like lowland river floodplains, relatively coarse taxonomic data can already provide a valuable indication of the relative importance of different environmental factors for structuring arthropod communities. However, the ground beetles showed a higher specificity for different vegetation types and a more distinct relation to soil contamination levels than the other arthropod datasets. Hence, a higher degree of taxonomic detail will be beneficial for investigating the consequences of for example environmental pollution or vegetation characteristics in terms of taxonomic diversity or community composition.

Keywords: Carabidae; Coleoptera; Heavy metal contamination; Redundancy analysis; River Rhine; Taxonomic resolution; Variance partitioning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-010-9828-7

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Email: A.Schipper@science.ru.nl 2: Department of Environmental Science, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 3: Bargerveen Foundation, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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