Edge Effects Are Important in Supporting Beetle Biodiversity in a Gravel-Bed River Floodplain
Langhans, Simone D.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Understanding complex, dynamic, and diverse ecosystems is essential for developing sound management and conservation strategies. Gravel-bed river floodplains are composed of an interlinked mosaic of aquatic and terrestrial habitats hosting a diverse, specialized, and endangered fauna. Therefore, they serve as excellent models to investigate the biodiversity of multiple ecotones and related edge effects. In this study, we investigated the abundance, composition, richness, and conservation status of beetle assemblages at varying sediment depth (0, 0.1, 0.6 and 1.1 m), distance from the channel (1, 5, 20, and 60–100 m, and 5 m within the riparian forest), and time of the year (February–November) across a 200 m-wide gravel bar at the near-natural Tagliamento River (Italy), to detect edge effects in four floodplain ecotones: aquatic-terrestrial, forest-active floodplain, sediment-air, and sediment-groundwater. We used conventional pitfall traps and novel tube traps to sample beetles comparably on the sediment surface and within the unsaturated sediments. We found a total of 308 beetle species (including 87 of conservation concern) that showed multiple, significant positive edge effects across the floodplain ecotones, mainly driven by spatial heterogeneity: Total and red list beetle abundance and richness peaked on the sediment surface, at channel margins, and at the edge of the riparian forest. All ecotones possessed edge/habitat specialists. Most red list species occurred on the sediment surface, including five species previously considered extinct – yet two of these species occurred in higher densities in the unsaturated sediments. Conservation and management efforts along gravel-bed rivers must therefore promote a dynamic flow and sediment regime to create and maintain habitat heterogeneity and ecotone diversity, which support a unique and high biodiversity. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
Pages / Article No.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
Organisational unit03705 - Jokela, Jukka / Jokela, Jukka
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