Spatial distribution of upland beetles in relation to landform, vegetation and grazing management

Dennis, Peter, Aspinall, R.J., and Gordon, Iain J. (2002) Spatial distribution of upland beetles in relation to landform, vegetation and grazing management. Basic and Applied Ecology, 3 (2). pp. 183-193.

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We applied a novel analysis based on distance statistics to investigate how patterns of habitat heterogeneity affected the distribution of representative ground and rove beetle species (Coleoptera: Carabidae, Staphylinidae), sampled at an upland site of varied landform, soil and vegetation structure. The structural heterogeneity of the Nardus stricta-dominated grassland was further modified by varying grazing intensity with sheep, or sheep and cattle. We collected pitfall trap data from 120 sample points across the study area. Ground and rove beetle species were selected to represent the major trends in the species-trap abundance data, determined by the extent of their correlation with the main components of a factor analysis (Principal Components Analysis).

The novel statistical analytical method, calculation of the Getis and Ord distance statistic, G, was applied to the distribution data of each selected species of ground and rove beetle. The distance statistic was calculated fur the smallest distance to ensure that each sample point had at least one neighbour (73 m) and this distance was used to detect local spatial association and to explore the location and spatial scale of aggregations of each beetle species over the hillside. Clusters of high and low G(z) values were mapped to indicate the species' functional heterogeneity compared with habitat heterogeneity determined by landform, soils or grazing management.

The small number of large aggregations indicated the sensitivity of certain species to patterns of landform (Calathus melanocephalus and Pterostichus adstrictus). More aggregations of smaller size, coinciding with the pattern of particular grazing regimes indicated species sensitive to grazing intensity and species of mammalian herbivore (Carabus problematicus and Olophrum piceum). The aggregations of Othius angustus and Philonthus decorus related to landform, and suggested these species may have been directly responding to soil moisture and patterns of trampling by grazers. The method distinguished between those species that are sensitive to land use change and those that may be affected more by climate change.

Item ID: 42577
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1618-0089
Keywords: distance statistics, geostatistics, correlograins, spatial scale, aggregation, spatial heterogeneity, Staphylinidae, Carabidae
Funders: Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD)
Projects and Grants: Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department Flexible Fund
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960810 Mountain and High Country Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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