Browsing by Subject "DIVERSITY PATTERNS"

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  • Mammola, Stefano; Aharon, Shlomi; Seifan, Merav; Lubin, Yael; Gavish-Regev, Efrat (2019)
    Caves are excellent model systems to study the effects of abiotic factors on species distributions due to their selective conditions. Different ecological factors have been shown to affect species distribution depending on the scale of analysis, whether regional or local. The interplay between local and regional factors in explaining the spatial distribution of cave-dwelling organisms is poorly understood. Using the troglophilic subterranean spider Artema nephilit (Araneae: Pholcidae) as a model organism, we investigated whether similar environmental predictors drive the species distribution at these two spatial scales. At the local scale, we monitored the abundance of the spiders and measured relevant environmental features in 33 caves along the Jordan Rift Valley. We then extended the analysis to a regional scale, investigating the drivers of the distribution using species distribution models. We found that similar ecological factors determined the distribution at both local and regional scales for A. nephilit. At a local scale, the species was found to preferentially occupy the outermost, illuminated, and warmer sectors of caves. Similarly, mean annual temperature, annual temperature range, and solar radiation were the most important drivers of its regional distribution. By investigating these two spatial scales simultaneously, we showed that it was possible to achieve an in-depth understanding of the environmental conditions that governs subterranean species distribution.
  • Niskanen, Annina; Luoto, Miska; Väre, Henry; Heikkinen, Risto K. (2017)
    Projected climatic warming calls for increased attention to the identification of suitable refugia for the preservation of biota and ecosystems in changing high-latitude environments. One such way is the development of models for drivers of refugia. Here, we investigate the distribution and species richness of Arctic-alpine vascular plant species' refugia. The study is carried out in an environmentally variable area in N Europe, encompassing the northern boreal to the Arctic-alpine zone. We defined refugia as isolated 1 km x 1 km grid cells with multiple Arctic-alpine plant species occurrences outside their main distribution area and assessed the main environmental factors underlying their distribution and richness using cross-validated boosted regression tree modelling. In the modelling, we examined the effects of climatic, topographic, and geologic factors, and the connectivity of sites with refugia incrementally, i.e. first modelling climatic impact alone, then with separate additions of topographic, geologic and connectivity variables, concluding with a model including all predictor variables. The inclusion of slope and connectivity significantly improved model performance. Although climate has a central role in controlling the occurrence of refugia, topography provides important clues for recognizing heterogeneous locations that harbour refugia with suitable local thermal and moisture conditions. Results suggest considering refugia as, on the one hand, isolated pockets of suitable habitat, but on the other hand as potentially interconnected habitat networks. In general, our study demonstrates that the spatial patterns of refugia can be successfully modelled, but emphasizes a need for high-quality data sampled at resolutions reflecting significant environmental gradients.
  • Hewitt, Judi E.; Norkko, Joanna; Kauppi, Laura; Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Alf (2016)
    While beta diversity has been implicated as a key factor in controlling resilience of communities to stressors, lack of long-term data sets has limited the study of temporal dynamics of beta diversity. With a time series at two sites in excess of 40yr, we investigated turnover of both species and functional traits in a system stressed by eutrophication and overfishing and undergoing climate change and invasion. The two sites, although located near to each other, differ in water depth (20 cf. 35m), but both sites have displayed increased abundances of an invasive polychaete since 1990. We tested two hypotheses related to the effect of an invasive species; that taxa richness and turnover would decrease, and trait richness would increase post invasion and that trait turnover would increase between arrival and establishment of the invasive. Generally, we observed different dynamics at the two sites and responses not consistent with our hypotheses. We detected an increase in taxa richness at both sites and an increase in taxa turnover and number of traits at one site only. Trait turnover was higher prior to the invasion, although again only at one site. Disjunctive responses between species and trait turnover occurred, with the invader contributing in a nonrandom fashion to trait turnover. The lack of strong, consistent responses to the arrival and establishment of the invasive, and the decrease in trait turnover, suggests that effects of invasives are not only system- and species-dependent, but also depend on community dynamics of the invaded site, in particular the assembly processes, and historical context.