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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Oecologia, 2016, Vol.180(1), pp.243-244
    Keywords: Livestock ; Reptiles ; Agroecosystems;
    ISSN: 0029-8549
    E-ISSN: 1432-1939
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Oecologia, 2016, Vol.180(1), pp.231-242
    Description: Grazing plays an important role in shaping ecological communities in human-related ecosystems. Although myriad studies have explored the joint effect of grazing and climate on plant communities, this interactive effect has rarely been studied in animals. We hypothesized that the effect of grazing on the reptile community varies along a climatic gradient in relation to the effect of grazing on habitat characteristics, and that grazing differentially affects reptiles of different biogeographic regions. We tested our hypotheses by collecting data on environmental characteristics and by trapping reptiles in four heterogeneous landscapes experiencing differing grazing intensities and distributed along a sharp climatic gradient. We found that while reptile diversity increased with grazing intensity at the mesic end of the gradient, it decreased with grazing intensity at the arid end. Moreover, the proportion of reptile species of differing biogeographic origins varied with the interactive effect of climate and grazing. The representation of species originating in arid biogeographic zones was highest at the arid end of the climatic gradient, and representation increased with grazing intensity within this area. Regardless of the climatic context, increased grazing pressure results in a reduction in vegetation cover and thus in changes in habitat characteristics. By reducing vegetation cover, grazing increased habitat heterogeneity in the dense mesic sites and decreased habitat heterogeneity in the arid sites. Thus, our results suggest that the same direction of habitat alteration caused by grazing may have opposite effects on biodiversity and community composition in different climatic contexts.
    Keywords: Arid ; Biogeography ; Ecotone ; Fisher’s alpha ; Habitat heterogeneity ; Herpetofauna ; Mediterranean
    ISSN: 0029-8549
    E-ISSN: 1432-1939
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Biodiversity and Conservation, 2019, Vol.28(3), pp.769-786
    Description: To understand patterns of alpha, beta and gamma diversities in fragmented landscapes we need to explore the three scale components in relation to potential drivers in a scale-dependent manner. Often, the drivers themselves can be partitioned to alpha, beta and gamma diversities. Thus, one can hypothesize that the scale-components of species diversity and drivers’ diversity match, i.e., that species alpha diversity is mainly explained by drivers’ alpha diversity, beta by beta and gamma by gamma. Here, we explore this ‘scale-matching’ hypothesis for spiders in two fragmented agricultural landscapes. In each landscape, we sampled spiders and their potential prey in 12 patches. Then, we sub-sampled pseudo-landscapes in which we calculated spider alpha, beta and gamma diversities using multiplicative diversity-partitioning. Next, we used variance partitioning analysis to explore the relative contribution of eleven explanatory variables from five thematic groups (sampling intensity, area, connectivity, habitat diversity and prey diversity), while further partitioning the habitat and prey diversities to their corresponding alpha, beta and gamma diversities. We found considerable evidence for scale-matching, with spiders’ alpha and beta diversities explained mostly by the corresponding alpha and beta diversities (respectively) of prey and/or habitat. We further found a strong effect of connectivity on spider beta diversity, but not on alpha and gamma diversities. For spiders gamma diversity, a cross-scale effect was observed. Our results suggest that multiple drivers from multiple scales interact in structuring patterns of spider alpha, beta and gamma diversities in agro-ecosystems, yet the strongest effects are of those drivers that match in scale.
    Keywords: Agroecosystems ; Araneae ; Community composition ; Effective diversity ; Fragmentation ; Meta-community ; Scale
    ISSN: 0960-3115
    E-ISSN: 1572-9710
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