Browsing by Subject "ABUNDANCE"

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  • Laurila-Pant, Mirka; Mäntyniemi, Samu; Östman, Örjan; Olsson, Jens; Uusitalo, Laura; Lehikoinen, Annukka (2021)
    Ecological indicator approaches typically compare the prevailing state of an ecosystem component to a reference state reflecting good environmental conditions, i.e. the desirable state. However, defining the reference state is challenging due to a wide range of uncertainties related to natural variability and measurement error in data, as well as ecological understanding. This study propose a novel probabilistic approach combining historical monitoring data and ecological understanding to estimate the uncertainty associated with the boundary value of an ecological indicator between good and poor environmental states. Bayesian inference is used to estimate the epistemic uncertainty about the true state of an indicator variable during an historical reference period. This approach replaces the traditional boundary value with probability distribution, indicating the uncertainty about the boundary between environmental states providing a transparent safety margin associated with the risk of misclassification of the indicator's state. The approach is demonstrated by applying it to a time-series of an ecological status indicator, 'Abundance of coastal key fish species', included in HELCOM's Baltic Sea regional status assessment. We suggest that acknowledgement of the uncertainty behind the final classification leads to more transparent and better-informed decision-making processes.
  • Puntila-Dodd, Riikka; Loisa, Olli; Riipinen, Katariina; Fowler, Amy E. (2019)
    Non-indigenous species (NIS) can alter food web structure and function in many ways. While the predatory and competitive roles of NIS in aquatic environments are commonly studied, their role as a prey item for native predators is often overlooked. As the northern Baltic Sea lacks native crabs, the omnivorous estuarine Harris mud crab (Rhithropanopeus harrisii) is a novel invader to the system and provides an opportunity to observe how the species enters the prey field of predatory fish. In fall 2013, 1185 stomachs from 17 fish species were dissected and analyzed for the presence of R. harrisii. Fishermen had previously reported finding crabs mostly in the stomachs of perch (Perca fluviatilis), a frequent catch in recreational and commercial fisheries, but our study also found large numbers of crabs in four-horned sculpins (Myoxocephalus quadricornis) and small numbers in other species’ stomachs (Rutilus rutilus, Leuciscus ide, Gymnocephalus cernuus, and Blicca bjoerkna). In the study area occupied by R. harrisii, four-horned sculpins were the most frequent predator, with 83% having at least one crab in their stomach. In comparison, 7% of perch and roach had consumed R. harrisii. Most crabs eaten were 10–12 mm (carapace width), despite broader size range available (1–26 mm). Predation on R. harrisii in this system may be limited by the predators’ gape size (i.e., physical feeding restriction). These results highlight the need to understand the role of novel invasive species as prey items for native species, ultimately increase understanding of whether native predators can control NIS populations.
  • Vanhatalo, Jarno; Hartmann, Marcelo; Veneranta, Lari (2020)
    Species distribution models (SDM) are a key tool in ecology, conservation and management of natural resources. Two key components of the state-of-the-art SDMs are the description for species distribution response along environmental covariates and the spatial random effect that captures deviations from the distribution patterns explained by environmental covariates. Joint species distribution models (JSDMs) additionally include interspecific correlations which have been shown to improve their descriptive and predictive performance compared to single species models. However, current JSDMs are restricted to hierarchical generalized linear modeling framework. Their limitation is that parametric models have trouble in explaining changes in abundance due, for example, highly non-linear physical tolerance limits which is particularly important when predicting species distribution in new areas or under scenarios of environmental change. On the other hand, semi-parametric response functions have been shown to improve the predictive performance of SDMs in these tasks in single species models. Here, we propose JSDMs where the responses to environmental covariates are modeled with additive multivariate Gaussian processes coded as linear models of coregionalization. These allow inference for wide range of functional forms and interspecific correlations between the responses. We propose also an efficient approach for inference with Laplace approximation and parameterization of the interspecific covariance matrices on the euclidean space. We demonstrate the benefits of our model with two small scale examples and one real world case study. We use cross-validation to compare the proposed model to analogous semi-parametric single species models and parametric single and joint species models in interpolation and extrapolation tasks. The proposed model outperforms the alternative models in all cases. We also show that the proposed model can be seen as an extension of the current state-of-the-art JSDMs to semi-parametric models.
  • Zliobaite, Indre; Fortelius, Mikael (2020)
    The Red Queen's hypothesis portrays evolution as a never-ending competition for expansive energy, where one species' gain is another species' loss. The Red Queen is neutral with respect to body size, implying that neither small nor large species have a universal competitive advantage. Here we ask whether, and if so how, the Red Queen's hypothesis really can accommodate differences in body size. The maximum population growth in ecology clearly depends on body size-the smaller the species, the shorter the generation length, and the faster it can expand given sufficient opportunity. On the other hand, large species are more efficient in energy use due to metabolic scaling and can maintain more biomass with the same energy. The advantage of shorter generation makes a wide range of body sizes competitive, yet large species do not take over. We analytically show that individuals consume energy and reproduce in physiological time, but need to compete for energy in real time. The Red Queen, through adaptive evolution of populations, balances the pressures of real and physiological time. Modeling competition for energy as a proportional prize contest from economics, we further show that Red Queen's zero-sum game can generate unimodal hat-like patterns of species rise and decline that can be neutral in relation to body size.
  • Tiedje, James M.; Wang, Fang; Manaia, Celia M.; Virta, Marko; Sheng, Hongjie; Ma, Liping; Zhang, Tong; Topp, Edward (2019)
    Antibiotic resistance and its environmental component are gaining more attention as part of combating the growing healthcare crisis. The One Health framework, promulgated by many global health agencies, recognizes that antimicrobial resistance is a truly inter-domain problem in which human health, animal agriculture, and the environment are the core and interrelated components. This prospectus presents the status and issues relevant to the environmental component of antibiotic resistance, namely, the needs for advancing surveillance methodology: the environmental reservoirs and sources of resistance, namely, urban wastewater treatment plants, aquaculture production systems, soil receiving manure and biosolid, and the atmosphere which includes longer range dispersal. Recently, much work has been done describing antibiotic resistance genes in various environments; now quantitative, mechanistic, and hypothesis-driven studies are needed to identify practices that reduce real risks and maintain the effectiveness of our current antibiotics as long as possible. Advanced deployable detection methods for antibiotic resistance in diverse environmental samples are needed in order to provide the surveillance information to identify risks and define barriers that can reduce risks. Also needed are practices that reduce antibiotic use and thereby reduce selection for resistance, as well as practices that limit the dispersal of or destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria or their resistance genes that are feasible for these varied environmental domains.
  • Parnanen, Katariina M. M.; Narciso-da-Rocha, Carlos; Kneis, David; Berendonk, Thomas U.; Cacace, Damiano; Do, Thi Thuy; Elpers, Christian; Fatta-Kassinos, Despo; Henriques, Isabel; Jaeger, Thomas; Karkman, Antti; Luis Martinez, Jose; Michael, Stella G.; Michael-Kordatou, Irene; O'Sullivan, Kristin; Rodriguez-Mozaz, Sara; Schwartz, Thomas; Sheng, Hongjie; Sorum, Henning; Stedtfeld, Robert D.; Tiedje, James M.; Varela Della Giustina, Saulo; Walsh, Fiona; Vaz-Moreira, Ivone; Virta, Marko; Manaia, Celia M. (2019)
    Integrated antibiotic resistance (AR) surveillance is one of the objectives of the World Health Organization global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. Urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs) are among the most important receptors and sources of environmental AR. On the basis of the consistent observation of an increasing north-to-south clinical AR prevalence in Europe, this study compared the influent and final effluent of 12 UWTPs located in seven countries (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Finland, and Norway). Using highly parallel quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we analyzed 229 resistance genes and 25 mobile genetic elements. This first trans-Europe surveillance showed that UWTP AR profiles mirror the AR gradient observed in clinics. Antibiotic use, environmental temperature, and UWTP size were important factors related with resistance persistence and spread in the environment. These results highlight the need to implement regular surveillance and control measures, which may need to be appropriate for the geographic regions.
  • Topp, Edward; Larsson, D. G. Joakim; Miller, Daniel N.; Van den Eede, Chris; Virta, Marko P. J. (2018)
    A roundtable discussion held at the fourth International Symposium on the Environmental Dimension of Antibiotic Resistance (EDAR4) considered key issues concerning the impact on the environment of antibiotic use in agriculture and aquaculture, and emissions from antibiotic manufacturing. The critical control points for reducing emissions of antibiotics from agriculture are antibiotic stewardship and the pre-treatment of manure and sludge to abate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are sometimes added to fish and shellfish production sites via the feed, representing a direct route of contamination of the aquatic environment. Vaccination reduces the need for antibiotic use in high value (e.g. salmon) production systems. Consumer and regulatory pressure will over time contribute to reducing the emission of very high concentrations of antibiotics from manufacturing. Research priorities include the development of technologies, practices and incentives that will allow effective reduction in antibiotic use, together with evidence-based standards for antibiotic residues in effluents. All relevant stakeholders need to be aware of the threat of antimicrobial resistance and apply best practice in agriculture, aquaculture and pharmaceutical manufacturing in order to mitigate antibiotic resistance development. Research and policy development on antimicrobial resistance mitigation must be cognizant of the varied challenges facing high and low income countries.
  • Siren, Jukka; Lens, Luc; Cousseau, Laurence; Ovaskainen, Otso (2018)
    1. Individual-based models (IBMs) allow realistic and flexible modelling of ecological systems, but their parameterization with empirical data is statistically and computationally challenging. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) has been proposed as an efficient approach for inference with IBMs, but its applicability to data on natural populations has not been yet fully explored. 2. We construct an IBM for the metapopulation dynamics of a species inhabiting a fragmented patch network, and develop an ABC method for parameterization of the model. We consider several scenarios of data availability from count data to combination of mark-recapture and genetic data. We analyse both simulated and real data on white-starred robin (Pogonocichla stellata), a passerine bird living in montane forest environment in Kenya, and assess how the amount and type of data affect the estimates of model parameters and indicators of population state. 3. The indicators of the population state could be reliably estimated using the ABC method, but full parameterization was not achieved due to strong posterior correlations between model parameters. While the combination of the data types did not provide more accurate estimates for most of the indicators of population state or model parameters than the most informative data type (ringing data or genetic data) alone, the combined data allowed robust simultaneous estimation of all unknown quantities. 4. Our results show that ABC methods provide a powerful and flexible technique forparameterizing complex IBMs with multiple data sources, and assessing the dynamics of the population in a robust manner.
  • Abdi, Abdulhakim; Carrié, Romain; Sidemo-Holm, William; Cai, Zhanzhang; Boke Olén, Niklas; Smith, Henrik G; Eklundh, Lars; Ekroos, Johan Edvard (2021)
    Increasing land-use intensity is a main driver of biodiversity loss in farmland, but measuring proxies for land-use intensity across entire landscapes is challenging. Here, we develop a novel method for the assessment of the impact of land-use intensity on biodiversity in agricultural landscapes using remote sensing parameters derived from the Sentinel-2 satellites. We link crop phenology and productivity parameters derived from time-series of a two-band enhanced vegetation index with biodiversity indicators (insect pollinators and insect-pollinated vascular plants) in agricultural fields in southern Sweden, with contrasting land management (i.e. conventional and organic farming). Our results show that arable land-use intensity in cereal systems dominated by spring-sown cereals can be approximated using Sentinel-2 productivity parameters. This was shown by the significant positive correlations between the amplitude and maximum value of the enhanced vegetation index on one side and farmer reported yields on the other. We also found that conventional cereal fields had 17% higher maximum and 13% higher amplitude of their enhanced vegetation index than organic fields. Sentinel-2 derived parameters were more strongly correlated with the abundance and species richness of bumblebees and the richness of vascular plants than the abundance and species richness of butterflies. The relationships we found between biodiversity and crop production proxies are consistent with predictions that increasing agricultural land-use intensity decreases field biodiversity. The newly developed method based on crop phenology and productivity parameters derived from Sentinel-2 data serves as a proof of concept for the assessment of the impact of land-use intensity on biodiversity over cereal fields across larger areas. It enables the estimation of arable productivity in cereal systems, which can then be used by ecologists and develop tools for land managers as a proxy for land-use intensity. Coupled with spatially explicit databases on agricultural land-use, this method will enable crop-specific cereal productivity estimation across large geographical regions.
  • Virkkala, Raimo; Aalto, Juha; Heikkinen, Risto; Rajasärkkä, Ari; Kuusela, Saija; Leikola, Niko; Luoto, Miska (2020)
    Increased attention is being paid to the ecological drivers and conservation measures which could mitigate climate change-induced pressures for species survival, potentially helping populations to remain in their present-day locations longer. One important buffering mechanism against climate change may be provided by the heterogeneity in topography and consequent local climate conditions. However, the buffering capacity of this topoclimate has so far been insufficiently studied based on empirical survey data across multiple sites and species. Here, we studied whether the fine-grained air temperature variation of protected areas (PAs) affects the population changes of declining northern forest bird species. Importantly to our study, in PAs harmful land use, such as logging, is not allowed, enabling the detection of the effects of temperature buffering, even at relatively moderate levels of topographic variation. Our survey data from 129 PAs located in the boreal zone in Finland show that the density of northern forest species was higher in topographically heterogeneous PAs than in topographically more homogeneous PAs. Moreover, local temperature variation had a significant effect on the density change of northern forest birds from 1981-1999 to 2000-2017, indicating that change in bird density was generally smaller in PAs with higher topographic variation. Thus, we found a clear buffering effect stemming from the local temperature variation of PAs in the population trends of northern forest birds.
  • Greiser, Caroline; Hylander, Kristoffer; Meineri, Eric; Luoto, Miska; Ehrlen, Johan (2020)
    The role of climate in determining range margins is often studied using species distribution models (SDMs), which are easily applied but have well-known limitations, e.g. due to their correlative nature and colonization and extinction time lags. Transplant experiments can give more direct information on environmental effects, but often cover small spatial and temporal scales. We simultaneously applied a SDM using high-resolution spatial predictors and an integral projection (demographic) model based on a transplant experiment at 58 sites to examine the effects of microclimate, light and soil conditions on the distribution and performance of a forest herb, Lathyrus vernus, at its cold range margin in central Sweden. In the SDM, occurrences were strongly associated with warmer climates. In contrast, only weak effects of climate were detected in the transplant experiment, whereas effects of soil conditions and light dominated. The higher contribution of climate in the SDM is likely a result from its correlation with soil quality, forest type and potentially historic land use, which were unaccounted for in the model. Predicted habitat suitability and population growth rate, yielded by the two approaches, were not correlated across the transplant sites. We argue that the ranking of site habitat suitability is probably more reliable in the transplant experiment than in the SDM because predictors in the former better describe understory conditions, but that ranking might vary among years, e.g. due to differences in climate. Our results suggest that L. vernus is limited by soil and light rather than directly by climate at its northern range edge, where conifers dominate forests and create suboptimal conditions of soil and canopy-penetrating light. A general implication of our study is that to better understand how climate change influences range dynamics, we should not only strive to improve existing approaches but also to use multiple approaches in concert.
  • Poysa, Hannu; Lammi, Esa; Poysa, Silvo; Vaananen, Veli-Matti (2019)
    Interactions and dependence between species can transmit the effects of species declines within and between trophic levels, resulting in secondary endangerments and, in some cases, extinctions. Many mixed-species avian breeding aggregations commonly have a protector species whose aggressive nest defense is used by other species to defend their nests. Disappearance of the protector species may have population demographic consequences on the dependent species. Aggressive nest defense behavior of small colonial gulls, such as the black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), is used by many waterbird species to gain protection against predators. We used data from 15 local waterbird communities in Finland to study long-term changes and dynamics of breeding numbers of other waterbirds as a response to long-term changes and dynamics of black-headed gull colonies. We found that breeding numbers of many species tracked long-term changes in the size of black-headed gull colonies. This was true even after controlling for a common trend in the size of the black-headed gull colony and the breeding numbers of the other species. The trend-controlled positive temporal association with black-headed gull was relatively stronger in species that nest in similar habitats of a lake as the black-headed gull, and in species that have a more critical conservation status due to drastic population decline. Our results suggest that the overall decline of black-headed gull colonies has resulted in secondary endangerment of many other species in waterbird communities.
  • Budria, Alexandre; De Faveri, Jacquelin; Merilä, Juha (2015)
    Minnow traps are commonly used in the stickleback (Gasterostidae) fishery, but the potential differences in catch per unit effort (CPUE) among different minnow trap models are little studied. We compared the CPUE of four different minnow trap models in field experiments conducted with threespined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Marked (up to 26 fold) differences in median CPUE among different trap models were observed. Metallic uncoated traps yielded the largest CPUE (2.8 fish/h), followed by metallic black nylon-coated traps (1.3 fish/h). Collapsible canvas traps yielded substantially lower CPUEs (black: 0.7 fish/h; red: 0.1 fish/h) than the metallic traps. Laboratory trials further revealed significant differences in escape probabilities among the different trap models. While the differences in escape probability can explain at least part of the differences in CPUE among the trap models (e. g. high escape rate and low CPUE in red canvas traps), discrepancies between model-specific CPUEs and escape rates suggests that variation in entrance rate also contributes to the differences in CPUE. In general, and in accordance with earlier data on nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) trapping, the results suggest that uncoated metallic (Gee-type) traps are superior to the other commonly used minnow trap models in stickleback fisheries.
  • Antao, Laura H.; Pöyry, Juha; Leinonen, Reima; Roslin, Tomas (2020)
    Aim Biodiversity is currently undergoing rapid restructuring across the globe. However, the nature of biodiversity change is not well understood, as community-level changes may hide differential responses in individual population trajectories. Here, we quantify spatio-temporal community and stability dynamics using a long-term high-quality moth monitoring dataset. Location Finland, Northern Europe. Time period 1993-2012. Major taxa studied Nocturnal moths (Lepidoptera). Methods We quantified patterns of change in species richness, total abundance, dominance and temporal variability at different organizational levels over a 20 year period and along a latitudinal gradient of 1,100 km. We used mixed-effects and linear models to quantify temporal trends for the different community and stability metrics and to test for latitudinal (or longitudinal) effects. Results We found contrasting patterns for different community metrics, and strong latitudinal patterns. While total moth abundance has declined, species richness has simultaneously increased over the study period, but with rates accelerating with latitude. In addition, we revealed a latitudinal pattern in temporal variability-the northernmost locations exhibited higher variability over time, as quantified by both metrics of richness and aggregated species population trends. Main conclusions When combined, our findings likely reflect an influx of species expanding their ranges poleward in response to warming. The overall decline in abundance and the latitudinal effect on temporal variability highlight potentially severe consequences of global change for community structure and integrity across high-latitude regions. Importantly, our results underscore that increases in species richness may be paralleled by a loss of individuals, which in turn might affect higher trophic levels. Our findings suggest that the ongoing global species redistribution is affecting both community structure and stability over time, leading to compounded and partly opposing effects of global change depending on which biodiversity dimension we focus on.
  • Kotze, D. Johan; O'Hara, Robert B.; Lehvävirta, Susanna (2012)
  • Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Brotons, Lluis; Calladine, John; Campedelli, Tommaso; Escandell, Virginia; Flousek, Jiri; Grueneberg, Christoph; Haas, Fredrik; Harris, Sarah; Herrando, Sergi; Husby, Magne; Jiguet, Frederic; Kalas, John Atle; Lindstrom, Ake; Lorrilliere, Romain; Molina, Blas; Pladevall, Clara; Calvi, Gianpiero; Sattler, Thomas; Schmid, Hans; Sirkiä, Päivi M.; Teufelbauer, Norbert; Trautmann, Sven (2019)
    Mountain areas often hold special species communities, and they are high on the list of conservation concern. Global warming and changes in human land use, such as grazing pressure and afforestation, have been suggested to be major threats for biodiversity in the mountain areas, affecting species abundance and causing distribution shifts towards mountaintops. Population shifts towards poles and mountaintops have been documented in several areas, indicating that climate change is one of the key drivers of species' distribution changes. Despite the high conservation concern, relatively little is known about the population trends of species in mountain areas due to low accessibility and difficult working conditions. Thanks to the recent improvement of bird monitoring schemes around Europe, we can here report a first account of population trends of 44 bird species from four major European mountain regions: Fennoscandia, UK upland, south-western (Iberia) and south-central mountains (Alps), covering 12 countries. Overall, the mountain bird species declined significantly (-7%) during 2002-2014, which is similar to the declining rate in common birds in Europe during the same period. Mountain specialists showed a significant -10% decline in population numbers. The slope for mountain generalists was also negative, but not significantly so. The slopes of specialists and generalists did not differ from each other. Fennoscandian and Iberian populations were on average declining, while in United Kingdom and Alps, trends were nonsignificant. Temperature change or migratory behaviour was not significantly associated with regional population trends of species. Alpine habitats are highly vulnerable to climate change, and this is certainly one of the main drivers of mountain bird population trends. However, observed declines can also be partly linked with local land use practices. More efforts should be undertaken to identify the causes of decline and to increase conservation efforts for these populations.
  • Aalto, Sanni; Saarenheimo, Jatta; Arvola, Lauri; Tiirola, Marja; Huotari, Jussi; Rissanen, Antti (2019)
    Streams have an important role in regulating nitrogen (N) transportation from terrestrial ecosystems to downstream waters. Here, we examined how catchment land-use affects potential denitrification rates and the function and composition of denitrifier communities in boreal stream sediments, using stable isotope incubations and qPCR and 454-pyrosequencing targeted on nirS, nirK and nosZ genes. Although land-use influenced the water chemistry as higher nitrite+nitrate (NOx)-concentration at the agriculture-affected sampling point, sediment organic matter content was found to be the key factor in regulating potential denitrification rates. However, the abundance as well as the diversity and community composition of denitrifying microbes, and genetic N2O production potential (the ratio between nirS+nirK and nosZ gene abundances) were connected to both NOx- and sediment quality. Overall, our results suggest that catchment land-use-driven changes in N and carbon availability affect the denitrification rates, and possibly N-2:N2O production ratio, in boreal streams, through altering denitrifier abundance and community composition.
  • Pellissier, V.; Schmucki, R.; Pe'er, G.; Aunins, A.; Brereton, T.M.; Brotons, L.; Carnicer, J.; Chodkiewicz, T.; Chylarecki, P.; del Moral, J.C.; Escandell, V.; Evans, D.; Foppen, R.; Harpke, A.; Heliölä, J.; Herrando, S.; Kuussaari, M.; Kühn, E.; Lehikoinen, A.; Lindström, Å.; Moshøj, C.M.; Musche, M.; Noble, D.; Oliver, T.H.; Reif, J.; Richard, D.; Roy, D.B.; Schweiger, O.; Settele, J.; Stefanescu, C.; Teufelbauer, N.; Touroult, J.; Trautmann, S.; van Strien, A.J.; van Swaay, C.A.M.; van Turnhout, C.; Vermouzek, Z.; Voříšek, P.; Jiguet, F.; Julliard, R. (2020)
    ABSTRACT The European Union's Natura 2000 (N2000), is one of the largest international networks of protected areas. One of its aims is to secure the status of a pre-determined set of (targeted) bird and butterfly species. However, also non-target species may benefit from N2000. We evaluated how the terrestrial component of this network relates to the abundance of non-targeted, more common bird and butterfly species using data from long-term volunteer-based monitoring programs in 9,602 sites for birds and 2,001 sites for butterflies. In almost half of the 155 bird species assessed, and particularly among woodland specialists, abundance increased with the proportion of N2000 sites in the landscape. The corresponding positive relationship was found for 27 of the 104 butterfly species, although most of these species were generalists. These positive relationships disappeared for most of the species when land-cover covariates were taken into account, hinting that land-cover is a primary factor defining the positive effects of the N2000 network. The increase in abundance with N2000 was correlated with the specialization index for bird species, but not for butterfly species. Although the N2000 network supports higher abundance of a large spectrum of species, the low number of specialist butterfly species showing a positive association stresses the need to implement management plan improving the quality of habitats of N2000 areas potentially harboring openland butterfly specialists. For a better understanding of the processes involved, we advocate for a standardized collection of data on N2000 sites. Article impact statement: Across Europe the abundance of a majority of nontarget birds and a quarter of nontarget butterflies increased with Natura 2000 coverage. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
  • Reside, April E.; VanDerWal, Jeremy; Moilanen, Atte; Graham, Erin M. (2017)
    With the high rate of ecosystem change already occurring and predicted to occur in the coming decades, long-term conservation has to account not only for current biodiversity but also for the biodiversity patterns anticipated for the future. The trade-offs between prioritising future biodiversity at the expense of current priorities must be understood to guide current conservation planning, but have been largely unexplored. To fill this gap, we compared the performance of four conservation planning solutions involving 662 vertebrate species in the Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management Cluster Region in north-eastern Australia. Input species data for the four planning solutions were: 1) current distributions; 2) projected distributions for 2055; 3) projected distributions for 2085; and 4) current, 2055 and 2085 projected distributions, and the connectivity between each of the three time periods for each species. The four planning solutions were remarkably similar (up to 85% overlap), suggesting that modelling for either current or future scenarios is sufficient for conversation planning for this region, with little obvious trade-off. Our analyses also revealed that overall, species with small ranges occurring across steep elevation gradients and at higher elevations were more likely to be better represented in all solutions. Given that species with these characteristics are of high conservation significance, our results provide confidence that conservation planning focused on either current, near-or distant-future biodiversity will account for these species.
  • Heino, Jani; Grönroos, Mira (2017)
    It was recently suggested that beta diversity can be partitioned into contributions of single sites to overall beta diversity (LCBD) or into contributions of individual species to overall beta diversity (SCBD). We explored the relationships of LCBD and SCBD to site and species characteristics, respectively, in stream insect assemblages. We found that LCBD was mostly explained by variation in species richness, with a negative relationship being detected. SCBD was strongly related to various species characteristics, such as occupancy, abundance, niche position and niche breadth, but was only weakly related to biological traits of species. In particular, occupancy and its quadratic terms showed a very strong unimodal relationship with SCBD, suggesting that intermediate species in terms of site occupancy contribute most to beta diversity. Our findings of unravelling the contributions of sites or species to overall beta diversity are of high importance to community ecology, conservation and bioassessment using stream insect assemblages, and may bear some overall generalities to be found in other organism groups.