Community Composition (community + composition)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Community Composition

  • algal community composition
  • bacterial community composition
  • bacterioplankton community composition
  • bird community composition
  • fungal community composition
  • microbial community composition
  • phytoplankton community composition
  • plant community composition

  • Selected Abstracts

    Bird Community Composition in a Shaded Coffee Agro-ecological Matrix in Puebla, Mexico: The Effects of Landscape Heterogeneity at Multiple Spatial Scales

    BIOTROPICA, Issue 2 2010
    Eurídice Leyequién
    ABSTRACT This study examined the importance of habitat heterogeneity on the avian community composition, and investigated the scale at which species abundances respond to habitat variables. The study was conducted within a diverse landscape matrix of a shaded coffee region in Mexico. To detect at which characteristic spatial scale different species and foraging guilds respond most strongly we analyzed the effect of plot-, patch- and landscape-level variables at different spatial extent (i.e., different kilometer radii) on species composition and foraging guilds. We used redundancy analysis to identify species,environment correlations, and to identify predictor variables that best explained the bird community structure, quantified the influence of plot-, patch- and landscape-level variables on the bird community composition. In addition, we used the 4th-corner method to detect significant relationships between the dietary guilds and plot-, patch- and landscape-level variables. We recorded 12,335 individuals of 181 bird species; 105 bird species were recorded foraging within the shaded coffee plantations. We found that plot- and landscape-level variables significantly explained the bird community composition best across all scales, and were significantly correlated with the abundance of the dietary guilds. In contrast, patch-level variables were less important. Habitat composition variables (i.e., coffee, forest and agricultural area) were among the most important predictors. Canopy structure was more important than other vegetation structure variables in explaining dietary guild structure. Hence, the maintenance of a heterogeneous landscape with a high-quality matrix within an agro-ecological region enhances bird conservation. Abstract in Spanish is available at [source]

    Insect community organisation in estuaries: the role of the physical environment

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 3 2002
    D. Dudley Williams
    Insects are reportedly uncommon in marine habitats and, from a spatial/temporal intercomparison perspective, estuaries are among the least studied. We examined the natural variability seen among insect community organisation in estuaries on both sides of the North Atlantic, and evaluated the role of their physical environments. Community composition was found to be strongly influenced by three physical factors: estuary size, the degree of inundation by incoming tides, and substrate size/stability. Insects formed a significant proportion (17,54%, by numbers) of the benthic community of coarse-grained-substratum estuaries, and species richness increased with estuary size. Nymphs/larvae of mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, elmid beetles and chironomids dominated channel sites inundated by up to 25% of all incoming tides, but a gradual loss in species richness occurred downstream. However, even the most seaward sites supported high insect densities (up to 25,016 and 5433 m,2, supporting 26 and 4 species, at sites inundated by 75 and 100% of all incoming tides, respectively). Sites covered by tides for between 3 and 5 h twice daily were dominated by orthocladine chironomids, especially of the genus Orthocladius. Chironomid larvae contribute significantly to the diets of some coastal fish species, particularly juvenile flounder and sticklebacks. We present a schematic model summarising the relationships between estuary size, degree of inundation by salt water and insect community structure. [source]

    Impact of Collimonas bacteria on community composition of soil fungi

    Sachie Höppener-Ogawa
    Summary The genus Collimonas consists of soil bacteria that have the potential to grow at the expense of living fungal hyphae. However, the consequences of this mycophagous ability for soil fungi are unknown. Here we report on the development of fungal communities after introduction of collimonads in a soil that had a low abundance of indigenous collimonads. Development of fungal communities was stimulated by addition of cellulose or by introducing plants (Plantago lanceolata). Community composition of total fungi in soil and rhizosphere and of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots was examined by PCR-DGGE. The introduction of collimonads altered the composition of all fungal communities studied but had no effects on fungal biomass increase, cellulose degrading activity or plant performance. The most likely explanation for these results is that differences in sensitivity of fungal species to the presence of collimonads result in competitive replacement of species. The lab and greenhouse experiments were complemented with a field experiment. Mesh bags containing sterile sand with or without collimonads were buried in an ex-arable field and a forest. The presence of collimonads had an effect on the composition of fungi invading these bags in the ex-arable site but not in the forest site. [source]

    Community composition and activity of prokaryotes associated to detrital particles in two contrasting lake ecosystems

    Charles Lemarchand
    Abstract The composition, distribution and extracellular enzyme activities of bacteria attached to small (2,50 ,m in size) transparent exopolymer and Coomassie-stained proteinaceous particles (TEP and CSP) were examined in two lakes of different trophic status located in the Massif Central of France. TEP concentrations (104,106 particle per L) were significantly higher in the more productive lake and were significantly related to chlorophyll a concentrations. The majority of TEP and CSP were colonized by bacteria that constituted 2.6% and 7.4% of the total 4,,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-stained bacteria in lakes Pavin and Aydat, respectively. In both lakes, the composition of particle-associated bacteria was different from that of free-living bacteria, the Betaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes (i.e. former Cytophaga,Flavobacteria group) being the dominant groups on particles. We also found that 2,5 ,m TEP were more colonized than 2,5 ,m CSP in the two lakes, and that TEP colonization was higher in the less productive lake. Measurements of Leucine aminopeptidase and ,-glucosidase activities in fractionated lake water (0.2,1.2, 1.2,5 and >5 ,m fractions) indicated that proteolytic activity was always higher and that particle-associated bacteria have higher enzymatic activities than free-living bacteria. The glycolytic activities in the 1.2,5 and >5 ,m fractions were related to the abundance of TEP. We conclude that small freshwater detrital organic particles constitute microhabitats with high bacterial activities in pelagic environments and, undoubtedly, present significant ecological implications for the prokaryotic community structure and function in aquatic ecosystems. [source]

    Food webs in tropical Australian streams: shredders are not scarce

    FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Issue 5 2005
    Summary 1. Macroinvertebrates were collected in dry and wet seasons from riffles and pools in two streams in tropical north Queensland. Total biomass, abundance and species richness were higher in riffles than in pools but did not differ between streams or seasons. 2. Gut contents of all species were identified. Cluster analysis based on gut contents identified five dietary groups: I, generalist collectors; II, generalist shredders and generalist predators; III, generalist scrapers; IV, specialist shredders; and V, specialist predators. Species were allocated to functional feeding groups (FFGs) based on these dietary groups. 3. Many species were generalist in their diets, but specialist predators and shredders were particularly prominent components of the invertebrate assemblages in terms of biomass and species richness. 4. Community composition (proportions of biomass, abundance and species richness of the different FFGs) varied between habitat types, but not between streams or seasons, although differences between riffles and pools varied with season. 5. Comparison of the fauna of 20 streams showed that our study sites were similar to, or not atypical of, low-order streams in the Queensland wet tropics. [source]

    Land-use influences macroinvertebrate community response following a pulse disturbance

    FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Issue 8 2003
    Kevin J. Collier
    Summary 1.,We tested the hypothesis that interactions between disturbance types can influence invertebrate community response and recovery in two streams draining pasture (press-pulse disturbance) and native forest (pulse disturbance) catchments before and after a one-in-28-year flood. We also sampled drift and adult insects to gain insights into the relative importance of these two postdisturbance recolonisation pathways. 2.,Taxa numbers and total density declined markedly at the forested site after the flood, but there was a delayed response at the pasture site, reflecting greater initial resistance to this pulse disturbance among taxa adapted to the underlying press disturbance. 3.,Community composition was less stable at the pasture site where per cent abundance of taxa was highly variable prior to the flood and over the 2-year postflood sampling period. After the flood, the pasture stream fauna was more heavily dominated by vagile taxa, including several chironomid species and hydroptilid caddisflies. 4.,Taxa numbers and densities recovered to preflood levels within 5,7 months at both sites, but a range of taxa-specific responses was observed that took up to 18 months to recover to preflood densities. Community stability at the pasture site had not returned to preflood composition by 2 years postflood. 5.,Changes in drift densities of several common stream invertebrates at the pasture site reflected postflood changes in benthic densities and seasonally low drift in winter. Terrestrial invertebrates dominated drift at the pasture site for 3 months postflood whereas Ephemeroptera were most common at the native forest site. 6.,Flight patterns of selected adult aquatic insects showed a strongly seasonal pattern. Abundance of adults at the pasture site in the second year following the flood increased in line with the recovery of the non-Dipteran benthic fauna. Significant upstream flight occurred for several caddisfly species at the native forest site, and weakly directional or downstream flight was evident for most common Plecoptera and Ephemeroptera. 7.,This study indicates that the magnitude and duration of responses to major pulse disturbances can depend on the presence or absence of an underlying press disturbance. This finding has implications for monitoring, and suggests that a knowledge of disturbance history beyond 2 years may be required to interpret mechanisms contributing to observed land-use impacts. [source]

    Use of arboreal and terrestrial space by a small mammal community in a tropical rain forest in Borneo, Malaysia

    Konstans Wells
    Abstract Aim, Small mammals were live-trapped in a primary rain forest to evaluate the relative distribution of species to each other and to microhabitat properties on the ground and in the canopy. Location, Kinabalu National Park in Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia. Methods, Seven trapping sessions were conducted along two grids with 31 trap points at distances of 20 m on the ground and in the lower canopy at an average height of 13.5 m. Results, Species diversity and abundance of small mammals proved to be high: 20 species of the families Muridae, Sciuridae, Tupaiidae, Hystricidae, Viverridae and Lorisidae were trapped, with murids being dominant in both habitat layers. The terrestrial community was significantly more diverse with 16 captured species (Shannon,Wiener's diversity index = 2.47), while 11 species were trapped in the canopy ( = 1.59). The Whitehead's rat, Maxomys whiteheadi, and the red spiny rat, Maxomys surifer, dominated the terrestrial community whereas the large pencil-tailed tree mouse, Chiropodomys major, was by far the most abundant species in the canopy. Other abundant species of the canopy community, the dark-tailed tree rat, Niviventer cremoriventer, and the lesser treeshrew, Tupaia minor, were also abundant on the ground, and there was no clear boundary between arboreal and terrestrial species occurrences. Main conclusions, As most species were not confined to specific microhabitats or habitat layers, species seemed to rely on resources not necessarily restricted to certain microhabitats or habitat layers, and separation of species probably resulted mainly from a species' concentrated activity in a preferred microhabitat rather than from principal adaptations to certain habitats. Ecological segregation was stronger in the more diverse terrestrial community, though microhabitat selection was generally not sufficient to explain the co-occurrences of species and the variability between local species assemblages. Constraints on small mammal foraging efficiency in the three-dimensional more complex canopy may be responsible for the similarity of microhabitat use of all common arboreal species. Community composition was characterized by mobile species with low persistence rates, resulting in a high degree of variability in local species assemblages with similar turnover rates in both habitats. [source]

    Pollution status of a tropical forest river using aquatic insects as indicators

    Tunde Ohiokhioya Thadeus Imoobe
    Abstract Aquatic insects inhabiting Okhuo River, in a tropical forest near Benin City, Southern Nigerian, were studied between January and December 2006 to determine the taxa composition, diversity, EPT index, relative proportions of the various groups and hence the pollution level of the waterbody. Three stations were selected and sampled monthly using the kick sampling technique. A total of 3235 individual aquatic insects belonging to 24 taxa distributed among 23 genera in six orders were collected. The insect orders occurred in the following order of dominance: Ephemeroptera > Odonata > Coleoptera > Diptera > Plecoptera > Tricoptera. Based on the diverse composition of the community dominated by organisms intolerant of organic enrichment, and the high diversity and EPT index, water quality in Okhuo River is not significantly degraded. Community composition varies seasonally, with a trend toward a declining proportion during the rainy season and increasing proportions during the dry season. Aquatic insect composition in Okhuo River compares favourably with those in similar, relatively undisturbed forest streams and rivers in Nigeria, but the diversity and proportional distribution of taxa vary considerably between streams. Résumé Les insectes aquatiques qui vivent dans la rivière Okhuo près de la ville de Benin, au sud du Nigeria, ont étéétudiés entre janvier et décembre 2006 afin de déterminer la composition des taxons, leur diversité, l'indice EPT, les proportions relatives des différents groupes et, de là, le taux de pollution de la rivière. On a sélectionné trois stations qui ont étééchantillonnées chaque mois en utilisant la technique d'échantillonnage par coups de pied. On a collecté un total de 3 235 insectes aquatiques appartenant à 24 taxons répartis entre 23 genres de six ordres. Les ordres des insectes se plaçaient dans l'ordre de dominance suivant : Ephéméroptères > Odonates > Coléoptères > Diptères > Plécoptères > Trichoptères. Si l'on se base sur la composition diversifiée de la communauté où dominent des organismes intolérants aux enrichissements organiques, et sur la grande diversité et l'indice EPT, on peut dire que la qualité de l'eau de la rivière Okhuo n'est pas significativement dégradée. La composition de la communauté varie avec les saisons, avec une tendance à la diminution au cours de la saison des pluies et à une augmentation au cours de la saison sèche. La composition des insectes aquatiques de la rivière Okhuo se compare avantageusement avec celles des cours d'eau semblables des forêts intactes du Nigeria, mais la diversité et la distribution proportionnelle des différents taxons varient considérablement entre les cours d'eau. [source]

    Importance of soils, topography and geographic distance in structuring central Amazonian tree communities

    Stephanie A. Bohlman
    Abstract Question: What is the relative contribution of geographic distance, soil and topographic variables in determining the community floristic patterns and individual tree species abundances in the nutrient-poor soils of central Amazonia? Location: Central Amazonia near Manaus, Brazil. Methods: Our analysis was based on data for 1105 tree species (, 10 cm dbh) within 40 1-ha plots over a ca. 1000-km2 area. Slope and 26 soil-surface parameters were measured for each plot. A main soil-fertility gradient (encompassing soil texture, cation content, nitrogen and carbon) and five other uncorrelated soil and topographic variables were used as potential predictors of plant-community composition. Mantel tests and multiple regressions on distance matrices were used to detect relationships at the community level, and ordinary least square (OLS) and conditional autoregressive (CAR) models were used to detect relationships for individual species abundances. Results: Floristic similarity declined rapidly with distance over small spatial scales (0,5 km), but remained constant (ca. 44%) over distances of 5 to 30 km, which indicates lower beta diversity than in western Amazonian forests. Distance explained 1/3 to 1/2 more variance in floristics measures than environmental variables. Community composition was most strongly related to the main soil-fertility gradient and C:N ratio. The main fertility gradient and pH had the greatest impact of species abundances. About 30% of individual tree species were significantly related to one or more soil/topographic parameters. Conclusions: Geographic distance and the main fertility gradient are the best predictors of community floristic composition, but other soil variables, particularly C:N ratio, pH, and slope, have strong relationships with a significant portion of the tree community. [source]

    Stability of ecosystem properties in response to above-ground functional group richness and composition

    OIKOS, Issue 1 2000
    David A. Wardle
    While there has been a rapidly increasing research effort focused on understanding whether and how composition and richness of species and functional groups may determine ecosystem properties, much remains unknown about how these community attributes affect the dynamic properties of ecosystems. We conducted an experiment in 540 mini-ecosystems in glasshouse conditions, using an experimental design previously shown to be appropriate for testing for functional group richness and composition effects in ecosystems. Artificial communities representing 12 different above-ground community structures were assembled. These included treatments consisting of monoculture and two- and four-species mixtures from a pool of four plant species; each plant species represented a different functional group. Additional treatments included two herbivore species, either singly or in mixture, and with or without top predators. These experimental units were then either subjected to an experimentally imposed disturbance (drought) for 40 d or left undisturbed. Community composition and drought both had important effects on plant productivity and biomass, and on several below-ground chemical and biological properties, including those linked to the functioning of the decomposer subsystem. Many of these compositional effects were due to effects both of plant and of herbivore species. Plant functional group richness also exerted positive effects on plant biomass and productivity, but not on any of the below-ground properties. Above-ground composition also had important effects on the response of below-ground properties to drought and thus influenced ecosystem stability (resistance); effects of composition on drought resistance of above-ground plant response variables and soil chemical properties were weaker and less consistent. Despite the positive effects of plant functional group richness on some ecosystem properties, there was no effect of richness on the resistance of any of the ecosystem properties we considered. Although herbivores had detectable effects on the resistance of some ecosystem properties, there were no effects of the mixed herbivore species treatment on resistance relative to the single species herbivore treatments. Increasing above-ground food chain length from zero to three trophic levels did not have any consistent effect on the stability of ecosystem properties. There was no evidence of either above-ground composition or functional group richness affecting the recovery rate of ecosystem properties from drought and hence ecosystem resilience. Our data collectively point to the role of composition (identity of functional group), but not functional group richness, in determining the stability (resistance to disturbance) of ecosystem properties, and indicates that the nature of the above-ground community can be an important determinant of the consistency of delivery of ecosystem services. [source]

    Biodiversity recovery during rainforest reforestation as indicated by rapid assessment of epigaeic ants in tropical and subtropical Australia

    AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 4 2009
    Abstract There is growing interest in the potential for reforestation to assist the recovery of rainforest biodiversity. There is also a need to identify taxonomically tractable groups for use as cost-effective indicators when monitoring the status of biodiversity within reforested sites. Insects are an important component of terrestrial biodiversity but often require considerable resources to sample at species level. Ant genera and generic-based functional groups have been suggested as possible indicators of environmental disturbance. Here we ask to what extent the development of biodiversity is indicated by epigaeic ant genera and functional groups, across different types of reforestation in tropical and subtropical Australia. In each region, we used pitfall traps to sample the ants in replicate sites of: unmanaged regrowth, monoculture and mixed species plantations and ,ecological restoration' plantings, together with reference sites in pasture and rainforest. We recorded 35 epigaeic ant genera (and 4623 individuals) from 50 tropical sites, and 39 genera (and 9904 individuals) from 54 subtropical sites, with 47 genera overall. Community composition of both genera and functional groups differed between pasture and rainforest, although many genera were widespread in both. Reforested sites were intermediate between pasture and rainforest in both regions, and showed a gradient associated with decreasing grass and increasing tree and litter cover. Older monoculture plantations and ecological restoration plantings had the most rainforest-like ant assemblages, and mixed-species cabinet timber plots the least, of the reforested sites. We conclude that ground-active ant genera and functional groups sampled in rapid surveys by pitfall-trapping showed only a modest ability to discriminate among different types of reforestation. Species-level identification, perhaps together with expanded sampling effort, could be more informative, but would require resourcing beyond the scope of rapid assessments. [source]

    Salvage Logging, Ecosystem Processes, and Biodiversity Conservation

    conservación de la biodiversidad; gestión forestal; procesos ecosistémicos Abstract:,We summarize the documented and potential impacts of salvage logging,a form of logging that removes trees and other biological material from sites after natural disturbance. Such operations may reduce or eliminate biological legacies, modify rare postdisturbance habitats, influence populations, alter community composition, impair natural vegetation recovery, facilitate the colonization of invasive species, alter soil properties and nutrient levels, increase erosion, modify hydrological regimes and aquatic ecosystems, and alter patterns of landscape heterogeneity. These impacts can be assigned to three broad and interrelated effects: (1) altered stand structural complexity; (2) altered ecosystem processes and functions; and (3) altered populations of species and community composition. Some impacts may be different from or additional to the effects of traditional logging that is not preceded by a large natural disturbance because the conditions before, during, and after salvage logging may differ from those that characterize traditional timber harvesting. The potential impacts of salvage logging often have been overlooked, partly because the processes of ecosystem recovery after natural disturbance are still poorly understood and partly because potential cumulative effects of natural and human disturbance have not been well documented. Ecologically informed policies regarding salvage logging are needed prior to major natural disturbances so that when they occur ad hoc and crisis-mode decision making can be avoided. These policies should lead to salvage-exemption zones and limits on the amounts of disturbance-derived biological legacies (e.g., burned trees, logs) that are removed where salvage logging takes place. Finally, we believe new terminology is needed. The word salvage implies that something is being saved or recovered, whereas from an ecological perspective this is rarely the case. Resumen:,Resumimos los impactos documentados y potenciales de la cosecha de salvamento , una forma de cosecha de madera que remueve árboles y otros materiales biológicos después de una perturbación natural. Tales operaciones pueden reducir o eliminar legados biológicos, modificar hábitats post perturbación, influir en poblaciones, alterar la composición de comunidades, impedir la recuperación de la vegetación natural, facilitar la colonización de especies invasoras, alterar las propiedades del suelo y de niveles de nutrientes, incrementar la erosión, modificar regímenes hidrológicos y ecosistemas acuáticos, y alterar patrones de heterogeneidad del paisaje. Estos impactos se pueden asignar a tres efectos amplios e interrelacionados: (1) alteración de la complejidad estructural del bosque; (2) alteración de procesos y funciones ecológicas; y (3) alteración de poblaciones de especies y de la composición de la comunidad. Algunos impactos pueden ser diferentes a o adicionales a los efectos de la cosecha de madera tradicional que no es precedida de una perturbación natural severa porque las condiciones antes, durante y después de la cosecha de salvamento pueden diferir de las que caracterizan a la cosecha de madera tradicional. Los impactos potenciales de la cosecha de salvamento a menudo han sido pasados por alto, en parte porque los procesos de recuperación del ecosistema después de una perturbación natural son poco conocidos y en parte porque los efectos acumulativos potenciales de perturbaciones naturales y humanas no han sido bien documentados. Se requieren políticas ecológicamente informadas para la cosecha de salvamento para que cuando ocurran las perturbaciones naturales se evite la toma de decisiones en situaciones de crisis. Estas políticas deberán establecer zonas exentas de salvamento y límites a las cantidades de legados biológicos derivados de la perturbación (e. g., árboles quemados, troncos) que son removidos donde se lleva a cabo la cosecha de salvamento. Finalmente, creemos que se requiere una nueva terminología. La palabra salvamento implica que algo esta siendo salvado o recuperado, y este raramente es el caso desde una perspectiva ecológica. [source]

    Effects of Rock Climbing on the Land Snail Community of the Niagara Escarpment in Southern Ontario, Canada

    Michele A. McMillan
    We examined the effects of rock climbing on the density, richness, diversity, and community composition of snails on the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario, Canada. We sampled from randomly selected climbed and unclimbed sections of cliffs on the plateau ( cliff edge ), cliff face, and talus ( cliff base ). Snail density, richness, and diversity were lower along climbing routes than in unclimbed areas, and community composition differed between climbed and unclimbed samples. These results suggest that rock climbing has significant negative effects on all aspects of the snail community on cliffs; therefore, we recommend the inclusion of gastropods in conservation plans for protected areas containing cliffs. Resumen: Las barrancas del acantilado del Niagara proveen hábitat para comunidades extremadamente diversas de caracoles terrestres que pueden estar en riesgo debido al alpinismo recreativo. Examinamos los efectos del alpinismo en la densidad, riqueza, diversidad y composición de comunidades de caracoles del acantilado del Niagara en Ontario Meridional, Canadá. Tomamos muestras de las mesetas ( bordes de acantilados ), la cara del acantilado y el talud ( base del acantilado ) de secciones de barrancas usadas y no usadas para el alpinismo y seleccionadas al azar. La densidad, la riqueza y la diversidad de caracoles fueron más bajas en las rutas escaladas que en aquellas áreas no escaladas y la composición de la comunidad difirió entre muestras escaladas y no escaladas. Estos resultados sugieren que el alpinismo tiene impactos negativos significativos en todos los aspectos de la comunidad de caracoles en acantilados; por lo tanto, recomendamos la inclusión de gasterópodos en los planes de conservación para áreas protegidas que contengan acantilados. [source]

    Novel ecosystems resulting from landscape transformation create dilemmas for modern conservation practice

    David B. Lindenmayer
    Abstract Introduction: Novel ecosystems occur when new combinations of species appear within a particular biome due to human activity, environmental change, or impacts of introduced species. Background: Managing the trajectory of ecosystems toward desired outcomes requires an understanding of the means by which they developed. To facilitate this understanding, we present evidence for the development of a novel ecosystem from a natural experiment focusing on 52 woodland remnants surrounded by maturing stands of exotic radiata pine. Results: Bird community composition changed through time resulting in a unique blend of tall closed forest and open-woodland birds that previously did not occur in the study area, nor in the region's tall closed forest or open-woodland biomes. Conclusion: Novel ecosystems will become increasingly common due to climate change, raising complex management and ethical dilemmas for policy makers and resource managers. [source]

    Conversion of sagebrush shrublands to exotic annual grasslands negatively impacts small mammal communities

    Steven M. Ostoja
    Abstract Aim, The exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is fast replacing sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities throughout the Great Basin Desert and nearby regions in the Western United States, impacting native plant communities and altering fire regimes, which contributes to the long-term persistence of this weedy species. The effect of this conversion on native faunal communities remains largely unexamined. We assess the impact of conversion from native perennial to exotic annual plant communities on desert rodent communities. Location, Wyoming big sagebrush shrublands and nearby sites previously converted to cheatgrass-dominated annual grasslands in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA. Methods, At two sites in Tooele County, Utah, USA, we investigated with Sherman live trapping whether intact sagebrush vegetation and nearby converted Bromus tectorum -dominated vegetation differed in rodent abundance, diversity and community composition. Results, Rodent abundance and species richness were considerably greater in sagebrush plots than in cheatgrass-dominated plots. Nine species were captured in sagebrush plots; five of these were also trapped in cheatgrass plots, all at lower abundances than in the sagebrush. In contrast, cheatgrass-dominated plots had no species that were not found in sagebrush. In addition, the site that had been converted to cheatgrass longer had lower abundances of rodents than the site more recently converted to cheatgrass-dominated plots. Despite large differences in abundances and species richness, Simpson's D diversity and Shannon-Wiener diversity and Brillouin evenness indices did not differ between sagebrush and cheatgrass-dominated plots. Main conclusions, This survey of rodent communities in native sagebrush and in converted cheatgrass-dominated vegetation suggests that the abundances and community composition of rodents may be shifting, potentially at the larger spatial scale of the entire Great Basin, where cheatgrass continues to invade and dominate more landscape at a rapid rate. [source]

    Spatiotemporal changes of beetle communities across a tree diversity gradient

    Stephanie Sobek
    Abstract Aim, Plant and arthropod diversity are often related, but data on the role of mature tree diversity on canopy insect communities are fragmentary. We compare species richness of canopy beetles across a tree diversity gradient ranging from mono-dominant beech to mixed stands within a deciduous forest, and analyse community composition changes across space and time. Location, Germany's largest exclusively deciduous forest, the Hainich National Park (Thuringia). Methods, We used flight interception traps to assess the beetle fauna of various tree species, and applied additive partitioning to examine spatiotemporal patterns of diversity. Results, Species richness of beetle communities increased across the tree diversity gradient from 99 to 181 species per forest stand. Intra- and interspecific spatial turnover among trees contributed more than temporal turnover among months to the total ,-beetle diversity of the sampled stands. However, due to parallel increases in the number of habitat generalists and the number of species in each feeding guild (herbivores, predators and fungivores), no proportional changes in community composition could be observed. If only beech trees were analysed across the gradient, patterns were similar but temporal (monthly) species turnover was higher compared to spatial turnover among trees and not related to tree diversity. Main conclusions, The changes in species richness and community composition across the gradient can be explained by habitat heterogeneity, which increased with the mix of tree species. We conclude that understanding temporal and spatial species turnover is the key to understanding biodiversity patterns. Mono-dominant beech stands are insufficient to conserve fully the regional species richness of the remaining semi-natural deciduous forest habitats in Central Europe, and analysing beech alone would have resulted in the misleading conclusion that temporal (monthly) turnover contributes more to beetle diversity than spatial turnover among different tree species or tree individuals. [source]

    Smaller and more numerous harvesting gaps emulate natural forest disturbances: a biodiversity test case using rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae)

    Jan Klimaszewski
    ABSTRACT Aim To evaluate changes in the abundance, species richness and community composition of rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) in response to three configurations of experimental gap cuts and to the effects of ground scarification in early succession yellow birch-dominated boreal forest. In each experimental treatment, total forest removed was held constant (35% removal by partial cutting with a concomitant decrease in gap size) but the total number of gaps was increased (two, four and eight gaps, respectively), resulting in an experimental increase in the total amount of ,edge' within each stand. Location Early succession yellow birch-dominated forests, Quebec, Canada. Methods Pitfall traps, ANOVA, MIXED procedure in sas®, post hoc Tukey's adjustment, rarefaction estimates, sum-of-squares and distance-based multivariate regression trees (ssMRT, dbMRT). Results Estimates of species richness using rarefaction were highest in clearcut and two-gap treatments, decreased in smaller and more numerous gaps and were significantly higher in scarified areas than in unscarified areas. ANOVA indicated a significant impact of harvesting on the overall standardized catch. Post hoc Tukey's tests indicated that the total catch of all rove beetles was significantly higher in uncut forests than in the treated areas. Both sum-of-squares and distance-based multivariate regression trees indicated that community structure of rove beetles differed among treatments. Assemblages were grouped into (a) control plots, (b) four- and eight-gap treatments and (c) two-gap and clearcut treatments. Main conclusions Rove beetle composition responded significantly to increasing gap size. Composition among intermediate and small-sized gap treatments (four- and eight-gap treatments) was more similar to uncut control forests than were larger gap treatments (two-gap) and clearcuts. Effects of scarification were nested within the harvested treatments. When the total area of forest removed is held constant, smaller, more numerous gaps are more similar to uncut control stands than to larger gaps and falls more closely within the natural forest heterogeneity. [source]

    Using generalized dissimilarity modelling to analyse and predict patterns of beta diversity in regional biodiversity assessment

    Simon Ferrier
    ABSTRACT Generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM) is a statistical technique for analysing and predicting spatial patterns of turnover in community composition (beta diversity) across large regions. The approach is an extension of matrix regression, designed specifically to accommodate two types of nonlinearity commonly encountered in large-scaled ecological data sets: (1) the curvilinear relationship between increasing ecological distance, and observed compositional dissimilarity, between sites; and (2) the variation in the rate of compositional turnover at different positions along environmental gradients. GDM can be further adapted to accommodate special types of biological and environmental data including, for example, information on phylogenetic relationships between species and information on barriers to dispersal between geographical locations. The approach can be applied to a wide range of assessment activities including visualization of spatial patterns in community composition, constrained environmental classification, distributional modelling of species or community types, survey gap analysis, conservation assessment, and climate-change impact assessment. [source]

    Stream communities across a rural,urban landscape gradient

    Mark C. Urban
    ABSTRACT Rapid urbanization throughout the world is expected to cause extensive loss of biodiversity in the upcoming decades. Disturbances associated with urbanization frequently operate over multiple spatial scales such that local species extirpations have been attributed both to localized habitat degradation and to regional changes in land use. Urbanization also may shape stream communities by restricting species dispersal within and among stream reaches. In this patch-dynamics view, anthropogenic disturbances and isolation jointly reduce stream biodiversity in urbanizing landscapes. We evaluated predictions of stream invertebrate community composition and abundance based on variation in environmental conditions at five distinct spatial scales: stream habitats, reaches, riparian corridors and watersheds and their spatial location within the larger three-river basin. Despite strong associations between biodiversity loss and human density in this study, local stream habitat and stream reach conditions were poor predictors of community patterns. Instead, local community diversity and abundance were more accurately predicted by riparian vegetation and watershed landscape structure. Spatial coordinates associated with instream distances provided better predictions of stream communities than any of the environmental data sets. Together, results suggest that urbanization in the study region was associated with reduced stream invertebrate diversity through the alteration of landscape vegetation structure and patch connectivity. These findings suggest that maintaining and restoring watershed vegetation corridors in urban landscapes will aid efforts to conserve freshwater biodiversity. [source]

    The effects of fire, local environment and time on ant assemblages in fens and forests

    Jaime S. Ratchford
    ABSTRACT We investigated the effects of the abiotic environment, plant community composition and disturbance by fire on ant assemblages in two distinct habitat types in the Siskiyou Mountains in northern California and southern Oregon, USA. Sampling over 2 years in burned and unburned Darlingtonia fens and their adjacent upland forests, we found that the effects of disturbance by fire depended on habitat type. In forests, fire intensity predicted richness in ant assemblages in both years after the fire, and plant community composition predicted richness 2 years after the fire. No factors were associated with richness in the species-poor fen ant assemblages. Species-specific responses to both habitat type and disturbance by fire were idiosyncratic. Assemblage composition depended on habitat type, but not disturbance by fire, and the composition of each assemblage between years was more dissimilar in burned than unburned sites. [source]

    Response of collembolan communities to land-use change and grassland succession

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2007
    Matthieu Chauvat
    This study focuses on the long-term changes of collembolan communities occurring after the conversion of arable land to managed grassland. We analysed collembolan communities at grassland sites of different age that had been gradually converted over a period of 50 yr. Abundance and biomass responded rapidly and very positively to the conversion of arable land to grassland, while species richness was not affected. Collembolan assemblages changed only little during grassland maturation. The impact of land-use change on community structure was more obvious at the functional level because the colonization processes observed in our study mostly relied on hemiedaphic species. Vegetation and soil parameters were good predictors of collembolan community structure during development of managed grassland. The present study demonstrated that past landscape patterns and processes like land-use conversion and subsequent succession had a considerable impact on the present day pattern of species richness and community composition of Collembola within a landscape. Our results strongly differ from those obtained for other invertebrate groups, highlighting on the one hand the very diverse reactions of invertebrates to a common factor, and on the other hand the need to survey more than one taxa in order to draw conclusions on effects of land-use change on faunistic communities. [source]

    Post-fire recovery of ant communities in Submediterranean Pinus nigra forests

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2006
    Anselm Rodrigo
    This study analyzes the variations in the structure and composition of ant communities in burned Pinus nigra forests in central Catalonia (NE Spain). Pinus nigra forests do not recover after fire, changing to shrublands and oak coppices. For this reason, we suggest that ant communities of burned P. nigra forests will change after fire, because the post-fire scenario, in particular with the increase of open areas, is different to the unburned one, and more favourable for some species than for others. In four locations previously occupied by P. nigra forests where different fires occurred 1, 5, 13 and 19 yr before the sampling, we sampled the structure and composition of ant communities with pitfall traps, tree traps and net sweeping in unburned plots and in plots affected by canopy and understory fire. The results obtained suggest that canopy and understory fire had little effect on the structure of ant communities. Thus, many variables concerning ant communities were not modified either by fire type (understory or canopy fire) or by time since fire. However, a number of particular species were affected, either positively or negatively, by canopy fire: three species characteristic of forest habitats decreased after fire, while eight species characteristic of open habitats increased in areas affected by canopy fire, especially in the first few years after fire. These differences in ant community composition between burned and unburned plots imply that the maximum richness is achieved when there is a mixture of unburned forests and areas burned with canopy fire. Moreover, as canopy cover in P. nigra forests burned with canopy fire is not completed in the period of time studied, the presence of the species that are characteristic of burned areas remains along the chronosequence studied, while the species that disappear after fire do not recover in the period of time considered. Overall, the results obtained indicate that there is a persistent replacement of ant species in burned P. nigra forests, as is also the case with vegetation. [source]

    Impact of warming and timing of snow melt on soil microarthropod assemblages associated with Dryas- dominated plant communities on Svalbard

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2006
    Rebecca Dollery
    Open Top Chambers (OTCs) were used to measure impacts of predicted global warming on the structure of the invertebrate community of a Dryas octopetala heath in West Spitsbergen. Results from the OTC experiment were compared with natural variation in invertebrate community structure along a snowmelt transect through similar vegetation up the adjacent hillside. Changes along this transect represent the natural response of the invertebrate community to progressively longer and potentially warmer and drier growing seasons. Using MANOVA, ANOVA, Linear Discriminant Analysis and ,2 tests, significant differences in community composition were found between OTCs and controls and among stations along the transect. Numbers of cryptostigmatic and predatory mites tended to be higher in the warmer OTC treatment but numbers of the aphid Acyrthosiphon svalbardicum, hymenopterous parasitoids, Symphyta larvae, and weevils were higher in control plots. Most Collembola, including Hypogastrura tullbergi, Lepidocyrtus lignorum and Isotoma anglicana, followed a similar trend to the aphid, but Folsomia bisetosa was more abundant in the OTC treatment. Trends along the transect showed clear parallels with the OTC experiment. However, mite species, particularly Diapterobates notatus, tended to increase in numbers under warming, with several species collectively increasing at the earlier exposed transect stations. Overall, the results suggest that the composition and structure of Arctic invertebrate communities associated with Dryas will change significantly under global warming. [source]

    Effects of Acer platanoides invasion on understory plant communities and tree regeneration in the northern Rocky Mountains

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 5 2005
    Kurt O. Reinhart
    Quantitative studies are necessary to determine whether invasive plant species displace natives and reduce local biodiversity, or if they increase local biodiversity. Here we describe the effects of invasion by Norway maple Acer platanoides on riparian plant communities and tree regeneration at two different scales (individual tree vs stand scales) in western Montana, USA, using both descriptive and experimental approaches. The three stands differed in community composition with the stand most dominated by A. platanoides invasion being more compositionally homogenous, and less species rich (,67%), species even (,40%), and diverse (,75%) than the two other stands. This sharp decrease in community richness and diversity of the highly invaded stand, relative to the other stands, corresponded with a 28-fold increase in A. platanoides seedlings and saplings. The dramatic difference between stand 1 vs 2 and 3 suggests that A. platanoides invasion is associated with a dramatic change in community composition and local loss of species diversity; however, other unaccounted for differences between stands may be the cause. These whole-stand correlations were corroborated by community patterns under individual A. platanoides trees in a stand with intermediate levels of patchy invasion. At the scale of individual A. platanoides canopies within a matrix of native trees, diversity and richness of species beneath solitary A. platanoides trees declined as the size of the trees increased. These decreases in native community properties corresponded with an increase in the density of A. platanoides seedlings. The effect of A. platanoides at the stand scale was more dramatic than at the individual canopy scale; however, at this smaller scale we only collected data from the stand with intermediate levels of invasion and not from the stand with high levels of invasion. Transplant experiments with tree seedlings demonstrated that A. platanoides seedlings performed better when grown beneath conspecific canopies than under natives, but Populus and Pinus seedlings performed better when grown beneath Populus canopies, the dominant native. Our results indicate that A. platanoides trees suppress most native species, including the regeneration of the natural canopy dominants, but facilitate conspecifics in their understories. [source]

    Effects of plant diversity, plant productivity and habitat parameters on arthropod abundance in montane European grasslands

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2005
    Jörg Perner
    Arthropod abundance has been hypothesized to be correlated with plant diversity but the results of previous studies have been equivocal. In contrast, plant productivity, vegetation structure, abiotic site conditions, and the physical disturbance of habitats, are factors that interact with plant diversity, and that have been shown to influence arthropod abundance. We studied the combined effect of plant species diversity, productivity and site characteristics on arthropod abundance in 71 managed grasslands in central Germany using multivariate statistics. For each site we determined plant species cover, plant community biomass (productivity), macro- and micronutrients in the soil, and characterized the location of sites with respect to orographic parameters as well as the current and historic management regimes. Arthropods were sampled using a suction sampler and classified a priori into functional groups (FGs). We found that arthropod abundance was not correlated with plant species richness, effective diversity or Camargo's evenness, even when influences of environmental variables were taken into account. In contrast, plant community composition was highly correlated with arthropod abundances. Plant community productivity influenced arthropod abundance but explained only a small proportion of the variance. The abundances of the different arthropod FGs were influenced differentially by agricultural management, soil characteristics, vegetation structure and by interactions between different FGs of arthropods. Herbivores, carnivores and detritivores reacted differently to variation in environmental variables in a manner consistent with their feeding mode. Our results show that in natural grassland systems arthropod abundance is not a simple function of plant species richness, and they emphasize the important role of plant community composition for the abundance patterns of the arthropod assemblages. [source]

    Effects of environmental perturbations on abundance of subarctic plants after three, seven and ten years of treatments

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2001
    Enrico Graglia
    Analyses of changes in vegetation were carried out after three, seven and ten years of fertilizer addition, warming and light attenuation in two subarctic, alpine dwarf shrub heaths. One site was just above the tree line, at ca 450 m a.s.l., and the other at a much colder fell-field at ca 1150 m altitude. The aim was to investigate how the treatments affected the abundance of different species and growth forms over time, including examinations of transient changes. Grasses, which increased in abundance by fertilizer addition, and cryptogams, which, by contrast, decreased by fertilizer addition and warming, were the most sensitive functional groups to the treatments at both sites. Nutrient addition exerted a stronger and more consistent effect than both shading and warming. Warming at the fell-field had slightly greater effect than at the warmer tree line with an increase in deciduous shrubs. The decreased abundance of mosses and lichens to fertilizer addition and/or warming was most likely an indirect treatment effect, caused by competition through increased abundance and overgrowth of grasses. Such changes in species composition are likely to alter decomposition rates and the water and energy exchange at the soil surface. We observed few, if any, transient effects of declining responses during the 10 yr of treatments. Instead, there were many cumulative effects of the treatments for all functional groups and many interactions between time and treatment, suggesting that once a change in community composition is triggered, it will continue with unchanged or accelerated rate for a long period of time. [source]

    Comparative life-history traits in a fig wasp community: implications for community structure

    1. Whether life-history traits can determine community composition and structure is an important question that has been well explored theoretically, but has received scant empirical attention. Life-history traits of a seven-member community of galler and parasitoid fig wasp species (Chalcidoidea), developing within the inflorescences (syconia) of Ficus racemosa (Moraceae) in India, were determined and used to examine community structure and ecology. 2. Gallers were pro-ovigenic (all eggs are mature upon adult emergence) whereas parasitoids were synovigenic (eggs mature progressively during adult lifespan). Initial egg load was correlated with body size for some species, and there was a trade-off between egg number and egg size across all species. Although all species completed their development and left the syconium concurrently, they differed in their adult and pre-adult lifespans. Providing sucrose solutions increased parasitoid lifespan but had no effect on the longevity of some galler species. While feeding regimes and body size affected longevity in most species, an interaction effect between these variables was detected for only one species. 3. Life-history traits of wasp species exhibited a continuum in relation to their arrival sequence at syconia for oviposition during syconium development, and therefore reflected their ecology. The largest number of eggs, smallest egg sizes, and shortest longevities were characteristic of the earliest-arriving galling wasps at the smallest, immature syconia; the converse characterised the later-arriving parasitoids at the larger, already parasitised syconia. Thus life history is an important correlate of community resource partitioning and can be used to understand community structure. 4. This is the first comprehensive study of life-history traits in a fig wasp community. The comparative approach revealed constraints and flexibility in trait evolution. [source]

    Non-random distribution among a guild of parasitoids: implications for community structure and host survival

    Abstract 1.,Immature stages of the gall midge, Asphondylia borrichiae, are attacked by four species of parasitoids, which vary in size and relative abundance within patches of the gall midge's primary host plant, sea oxeye daisy (Borrichia frutescens). 2.,In the current study, a bagging experiment found that the smallest wasp, Galeopsomyia haemon, was most abundant in galls exposed to natural enemies early in the experiment, when gall diameter is smallest, while the wasp with the longest ovipositor, Torymus umbilicatus, dominated the parasitoid community in galls that were not exposed until the 5th and 6th weeks when gall diameter is maximal. 3.,Moreover, the mean number of parasitoids captured using large artificial galls were 70% and 150% higher compared with medium and small galls respectively, while stem height of artificial galls significantly affected parasitoid distribution. Galls that were level with the top of the sea oxeye canopy captured 60% more parasitoids compared with those below the canopy and 50% more than galls higher than the plant canopy. 4.,These non-random patterns were driven primarily by the differential distribution of the largest parasitoid, T. umbilicatus, which was found significantly more often than expected on large galls and the smallest parasitoid of the guild, G. haemon, which tended to be more common on stems level with the top of the plant canopy. 5.,Large Asphondylia galls, especially those located near the top of the Borrichia canopy, were more likely to be discovered by searching parasitoids. Results using artificial galls were consistent with rates of parasitism of Asphondylia galls in native patches of sea oxeye daisy. Gall diameter was 19% greater and the rate of parasitism was reduced by almost 50% on short stems; as a result, gall abundance was 24% higher on short stems compared with ones located near the top of the plant canopy. 6.,These results suggest that parasitoid community composition within galls is regulated by both interspecific differences in ovipositor length and preferences for specific gall size and/or stem length classes. [source]

    Community structure of arboreal caterpillars within and among four tree species of the eastern deciduous forest

    Keith S. Summerville
    Abstract., 1.,A seasonally replicated experimental design was used to address the question of how differences within and among host tree species affect arboreal caterpillar communities. 2.,Seasonal variation influenced caterpillar community composition most significantly, and the similarity among caterpillar assemblages did not necessarily follow the pattern of phylogenetic relatedness among host trees. 3.,Species richness and abundance of caterpillars were higher on oaks and maples than on American beech. Diversity partitioning models revealed that , diversity was only occasionally greater or less than expected by chance alone. 4.,When , diversity was significant, values tended to be greater than expected by chance among replicate trees within each species and lower than expected by chance among the four tree species. 5.,Differences among trees appeared important for determining patterns of species presence/absence for rare species and influencing patterns of species dominance within caterpillar assemblages. Differences among tree species had a significant effect on overall lepidopteran community composition and mean species diversity (i.e. , diversity). 6.,Because , diversity of caterpillars among host trees was lower than expected by chance, host specificity within the Lepidoptera may be less prevalent than thought previously. [source]

    A structured and dynamic framework to advance traits-based theory and prediction in ecology

    ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 3 2010
    Colleen T. Webb
    Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 267,283 Abstract Predicting changes in community composition and ecosystem function in a rapidly changing world is a major research challenge in ecology. Traits-based approaches have elicited much recent interest, yet individual studies are not advancing a more general, predictive ecology. Significant progress will be facilitated by adopting a coherent theoretical framework comprised of three elements: an underlying trait distribution, a performance filter defining the fitness of traits in different environments, and a dynamic projection of the performance filter along some environmental gradient. This framework allows changes in the trait distribution and associated modifications to community composition or ecosystem function to be predicted across time or space. The structure and dynamics of the performance filter specify two key criteria by which we judge appropriate quantitative methods for testing traits-based hypotheses. Bayesian multilevel models, dynamical systems models and hybrid approaches meet both these criteria and have the potential to meaningfully advance traits-based ecology. [source]