Species richness of Orthoptera declines with elevation while elevational range of individual species peaks at mid elevation

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Thomas, J., Segar, S. T. and Cherrill, A. J. 2024. Species richness of Orthoptera declines with elevation while elevational range of individual species peaks at mid elevation. Ecology and Evolution. 14 (2), p. e10985. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10985

AuthorsThomas, J., Segar, S. T. and Cherrill, A. J.
Abstract

Species richness has been shown to decrease, and elevational range increase (the Rapoport effect), with elevation as a consequence of biotic and abiotic factors, but patterns are inconsistent across taxonomic groups. Despite being an important indicator taxon and a component of local communities, Orthoptera distributions at higher elevations in Europe remain unclear. We investigated the relationship of Orthoptera species richness and elevational range with elevation in the Pyrenees mountains, Europe. We conducted sweepnetting surveys supplemented by hand-sampling, at 28 sites stratified by elevation, across three study areas. Using generalised linear models, we found that species richness declined with elevation. Elevation was an important predictor of species richness, but sampling effort and vegetation structure (height and cover) also contributed to estimates of species richness. Using a nonlinear regression to model the elevational range of species over the elevational gradient, we did not observe a Rapoport effect, with elevational range peaking at mid-elevation instead. Smaller elevational ranges of species found at high elevations may be due to a combination of sampling over a restricted elevational range and the presence of specialist high-elevation species. We argue that our findings are useful for understanding species distributions with elevation at the interface between local and regional scales. Clarifying the biotic and abiotic predictors of species distribution is important for informing conservation efforts and predicting consequences of climate change.

Year of Publication2024
JournalEcology and Evolution
Journal citation14 (2), p. e10985
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10985
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Jan 2024
ISSN2045-7758
PublisherWiley

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