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Landscape heterogeneity as an ecological filter of species traits

Abstract : Landscape heterogeneity is a major driver of biodiversity in agricultural areas and represents an important parameter in conservation strategies. However, most landscape ecology studies measure gamma diversity of a single habitat type, despite the assessment of multiple habitats at a landscape scale being more appropriate. This study aimed to determine the effects of landscape composition and spatial configuration on life-history trait distribution in carabid beetle and herbaceous plant communities. Here, we assessed the gamma diversity of carabid beetles and plants by sampling three dominant habitats (woody habitats, grasslands and crops) across 20 landscapes in western France. RLQ and Fourth Corner three-table analyses were used to assess the association of dispersal, phenology, reproduction and trophic level traits with landscape characteristics. Landscape composition and configuration were both significant in explaining functional composition. Carabid beetles and plants showed similar response regarding phenology, i.e. open landscapes were associated with earlier breeding species. Carabid beetle dispersal traits exhibited the strongest relationship with landscape structure; for instance, large and apterous species preferentially inhabited woody landscapes, whereas small and macropterous species preferentially inhabited open landscapes. Heavy seeded plant species dominated in intensified agricultural landscapes (high % crops), possibly due to the removal of weeds (which are usually lightweight seeded species). The results of this study emphasise the roles of landscape composition and configuration as ecological filters and the importance of preserving a range of landscape types to maintain functional biodiversity at regional scales.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 13, 2014 - 11:35:07 AM
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Rémi Duflot, Romain Georges, Aude Ernoult, Stéphanie Aviron, Francoise Burel. Landscape heterogeneity as an ecological filter of species traits. Acta Oecologica, Elsevier, 2014, 56, pp.19-26. ⟨10.1016/j.actao.2014.01.004⟩. ⟨hal-01005459⟩

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