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Farmland carabid beetle communities at multiple levels of spatial scale

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Carabid beetle communities were studied at three levels of spatial scale, i.e. within fields (three sets of traps, mean distance 15 m), between fields (five fields within 1 km from each other) and between patches of farmland (four study areas 4–8 km from each other). We compared carabid assemblages sampled on five crop types in each study area, i.e. ley, set-aside, spring cereal, potato, and sugar beet. Because of small sample sizes, only the community composition was studied within fields with a DCA ordination, but the differences were small. Analyses of species richness, activity density, community composition as revealed by DCA ordinations, dominance structure, diversity, and evenness showed that carabid communities varied significantly among patches of farmland but not between fields with different crops within the patches. Only the communities of potato fields were found to resemble each other. Only five carabid beetle species showed a preference for crops, and twelve species favoured some study areas. We conclude that the effect of spatial scale should be emphasised in further studies as it seems that carabid beetles may be very localised even in agricultural habitats.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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