Fine-scale heterogeneity in beetle assemblages under co-occurring Eucalyptus in the same subgenus




Barton, Philip
Manning, Adrian
Gibb, Heloise
Cunningham, Saul
Lindenmayer, David B

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd


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.



Keywords: abundance; beetle; biomass; coexistence; ecosystem function; endangered species; evergreen forest; heterogeneity; landscape ecology; leaf litter; pitfall trap; similarity index; spatial analysis; species diversity; subspecies; woodland; Australia; Austral Alpha diversity; Beta diversity; Coleoptera; Eucalyptus blakelyi; Eucalyptus melliodora; Ground beetles; Invertebrates; Leaf litter; South-eastern Australia; Spatial scale



Journal of Biogeography


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