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Disentangling the effects of farmland use, habitat edges, and vegetation structure on ground beetle morphological traits

journal contribution
posted on 2018-11-01, 00:00 authored by Katherina Ng, Philip S Barton, Wade Blanchard, Maldwyn J Evans, David B Lindenmayer, Sarina Macfadyen, Sue McIntyre, Don DriscollDon Driscoll
Land-use change due to agriculture has a major influence on arthropod biodiversity, and may influence species differently depending on their traits. It is unclear how species traits vary across different land uses and their edges, with most studies focussing on single habitat types and overlooking edge effects. We examined variation in morphological traits of carabid beetles (Coleoptera:Carabidae) on both sides of edges between woodlands and four adjoining, but contrasting farmland uses in an agricultural landscape. We asked: (1) how do traits differ between woodlands and different adjoining farmland uses (crop, fallow, restoration planting, and woody debris applied over crop), and do effects depend on increasing distances from the farmland-woodland edge? (2) Does vegetation structure explain observed effects of adjoining farmland use and edge effects on these traits? We found that carabid communities varied in body size and shape, including traits associated with diet, robustness, and visual ability. Smaller sized species were associated with woodlands and larger sized species with farmlands. Farmland use further influenced these associations, where woodlands adjoining plantings supported smaller species, while fallows and crops supported larger species. Vegetation structure significantly influenced body size, flying ability, and body shape, and helped explain the effects of farmland use and distance from edges on body size. We highlight the important role of vegetation structure, farmland use, and edge effects in filtering the morphological traits of carabid assemblages across a highly modified agricultural landscape. Our findings suggest that farmland management can influence body size and dispersal-related traits in farmland and adjacent native vegetation.









645 - 657




Berlin, Germany





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany