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A strategic interpretation of beetle (Coleoptera) assemblages, biotopes, habitats and distribution, and the conservation implications

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michael Eyre


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The identification of beetle, and other invertebrate, biotopes based on the recording of species assemblages has become a regular occurrence as a result of increased survey work, with the approach expanded into classifications of grid square pooled species lists at the national scale. A reassessment of beetle biotopes and distribution has been attempted by interpreting the classifications in terms of the major environmental factors of productivity and disturbance, identified as being important drivers in work on habitat templates and strategic triangles. For grassland ground beetle biotopes, productivity was generally related to soil quality whilst disturbance was associated with land management or cover. Productivity of exposed riverine sediment ground beetle biotopes was dependent on deposited organic matter and disturbance on the effects of water flow on site structure. With both ground beetle biotopes, the distribution of assemblages was also affected by substrate water, another abiotic driver. Productivity in aquatic beetle biotopes was a function of base-status, generally reflected by pH, whilst disturbance was mainly due to water flow and wave action. However, disturbance in ditches was also the result of site vegetation management whilst another factor affecting assemblage distribution was water permanence, with temporary water having specific assemblages. For large-scale British, grid-based, classifications productivity and disturbance were interpreted from satellite-derived land cover data. At the national scale, the other important factor influencing distribution was temperature. There is a requirement for better quantification of a number of the factors influencing biotope and assemblage definition. Species strategies employed to cope with the various environmental variables were reflected in traits in such factors as morphology and life-cycles. The effects of environmental perturbations including climate change, pollution and land use are discussed in relation to the environmental variables and to the various species strategies. Biotope classifications, using standardised and reproducible survey methods, allied to a better understanding of the underlying environmental pressures, could produce a unified approach for the conservation of beetle and other invertebrate species. © Springer 2006.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Eyre MD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Insect Conservation

Year: 2006

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 151-160

ISSN (print): 1366-638X

ISSN (electronic): 1572-9753

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s10841-006-6290-7


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