Fine-scale heterogeneity in beetle assemblages under co-occurring Eucalyptus in the same subgenus
Article first published online: 6 JUL 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Biogeography
Volume 37, Issue 10, pages 1927–1937, October 2010
How to Cite
Barton, P. S., Manning, A. D., Gibb, H., Lindenmayer, D. B. and Cunningham, S. A. (2010), Fine-scale heterogeneity in beetle assemblages under co-occurring Eucalyptus in the same subgenus. Journal of Biogeography, 37: 1927–1937. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02349.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 6 JUL 2010
- Alpha diversity;
- beta diversity;
- Eucalyptus blakelyi;
- Eucalyptus melliodora;
- ground beetles;
- leaf litter;
- south-eastern Australia;
- spatial scale
Aim Insect biodiversity is often positively associated with habitat heterogeneity. However, this relationship depends on spatial scale, with most studies focused on differences between habitats at large scales with a variety of forest tree species. We examined fine-scale heterogeneity in ground-dwelling beetle assemblages under co-occurring trees in the same subgenus: Eucalyptus melliodora A. Cunn. ex Schauer and E. blakelyi Maiden (Myrtaceae).
Location Critically endangered grassy woodland near Canberra, south-eastern Australia.
Methods We used pitfall traps and Tullgren funnels to sample ground-dwelling beetles from the litter environment under 47 trees, and examined differences in diversity and composition at spatial scales ranging from 100 to 1000 m.
Results Beetle assemblages under the two tree species had distinctive differences in diversity and composition. We found that E. melliodora supported a higher richness and abundance of beetles, but had higher compositional similarity among samples. In contrast, E. blakelyi had a lower abundance and species richness of beetles, but more variability in species composition among samples.
Main conclusions Our study shows that heterogeneity in litter habitat under co-occurring and closely related eucalypt species can influence beetle assemblages at spatial scales of just hundreds of metres. The differential contribution to fine-scale alpha and beta diversity by each eucalypt can be exploited for conservation purposes by ensuring an appropriate mix of the two species in the temperate woodlands where they co-occur. This would help not only to maximize biodiversity at landscape scales, but also to maintain heterogeneity in species richness, trophic function and biomass at fine spatial scales.