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Diversity-habitat heterogeneity relationship at different spatial and temporal scales

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The assumption that the description of any system depends on spatial and temporal scale has moved researchers to incorporate scale as another factor in determining the mechanisms explaining species diversity and distribution. Although most researchers agree that processes that occur at different spatial and temporal scales affect ecological communities, empirical support is still scarce. In this paper, we seek to discern whether the relationship between abundance, biomass, and species diversity, on the one hand, and habitat heterogeneity, on the other, holds across temporal and spatial scales. Moreover, we analyse whether the pattern/variation found depends on the taxonomic level, and the diversity index used. To answer these questions, we sampled arthropod assemblages across three nested temporal and spatial scales. In general, we found variability in the responses to habitat heterogeneity across scales according to the assemblage descriptor, the taxonomic level selected, and the diversity index used. Our results suggest that generalization is difficult and extrapolation should be made with caution. Moreover, the use of more than one diversity index would provide additional and complementary information about species-distribution patterns and the mechanisms generating these patterns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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