Beaver creates early successional hotspots for water beetles

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333034

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Nummi , P , Liao , W , van der Schoor , J & Loehr , J 2021 , ' Beaver creates early successional hotspots for water beetles ' , Biodiversity and Conservation , vol. 30 , pp. 2655-2670 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-021-02213-8 , https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-021-02230-7

Title: Beaver creates early successional hotspots for water beetles
Author: Nummi, Petri; Liao, Wenfei; van der Schoor, Juliette; Loehr, John
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Wetland Ecology Group
University of Helsinki, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme
University of Helsinki, Lammi Biological Station
Date: 2021-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Biodiversity and Conservation
ISSN: 0960-3115
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333034
Abstract: Beavers (Castor spp.) are ecosystem engineers that induce local disturbance and ecological succession, which turns terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems and creates habitat heterogeneity in a landscape. Beavers have been proposed as a tool for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration. So far, most research has compared biodiversity in beaver wetlands and non-beaver wetlands, but few studies have explored how beaver-created succession affects specific taxa. In this study, we investigated how water beetles responded to different successional stages of wetlands in a beaver-disturbed landscape at Evo in southern Finland. We sampled water beetles with 1-L activity traps in 20 ponds, including: 5 new beaver ponds, 5 old beaver ponds, 5 former beaver ponds, and 5 never engineered ponds. We found that beaver wetlands had higher species richness and abundance than non-beaver wetlands, and that new beaver wetlands could support higher species richness (321%) and abundance (671%) of water beetles compared to old beaver wetlands. We think that higher water beetle diversity in new beaver ponds has resulted from habitat amelioration (available lentic water, shallow shores, aquatic vegetation, and low fish abundance) and food source enhancement (an increase of both dead and live prey) created by beaver dams and floods. We conclude that using beavers as a tool, or imitating their way of flooding, can be beneficial in wetland restoration if beaver population densities are monitored to ensure the availability of newly colonizable sites.
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Aquatic insect
Biodiversity
Conservation
Dytiscidae
Facilitation
Landscape heterogeneity
ECOSYSTEM ENGINEER
SPECIES RICHNESS
CASTOR-CANADENSIS
FISH ASSEMBLAGES
INVERTEBRATES
HABITAT
DISTURBANCE
LANDSCAPES
DYTISCIDAE
DIVERSITY
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