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Dispersal as a key element of community structure: the case of ground beetles on lake islands


*Correspondence: Werner Ulrich, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Department of Animal Ecology, Gagarina 9, 87-100 Toruń; Poland. Tel.: 0048-56-611 4469; E-mail:, Internet:


In order to study the influence of dispersal ability on community structure of ground beetles (carabidae), 15 lake islands and 2 mainland sites of the lake Mamry archipelago, northern Poland, were sampled by using pitfall traps. Of the 71 ground beetle species detected, 47 were macropterous, 16 wing-dimorphic and 8 brachypterous. Macropterous species had lower site abundances and occupied fewer sites than dimorphic and brachypterous species. There were trends from macropterous to brachypterous species towards a nested distribution across the sites and towards over-dispersed (aggregated) species co-occurrences. Canonical correspondence analysis pointed to site isolation and area as main factors influencing site abundance and spatial distribution. Our results imply that further studies on species co-occurrences and community assembly have to consider dispersal ability as a key element influencing ecological distributions at the regional scale.