Altitudinal variation in the taxonomic composition of ground-dwelling beetle assemblages in NW Patagonia, Argentina: environmental correlates at regional and local scales
WERENKRAUT, VICTORIA; RUGGIERO, ADRIANA
INSECT CONSERVATION AND DIVERSITY
WILEY-LISS, DIV JOHN WILEY & SONS INC
Lugar: Oxford; Año: 2013 vol. 6 p. 82 - 92
Abstract. 1. Altitudinal gradients offer a unique scenario to elucidate how theincrease in harsh climatic conditions towards the top of the mountain interacts withother environmental factors at regional and local scale to influence the spatialvariation in local species composition and biodiversity maintenance. We analysedthe altitudinal variation in the taxonomic composition of epigaeic beetle assemblagesacross five mountains in north-western Patagonia (Argentina) to address whethersubstantial change in species composition was associated (i) at regional spatial scale,with changes in vegetation types, and the presence of dry and moist mountains, and(ii) at local spatial scale, with variation in temperature, plant cover and richness andseveral soil characteristics.2. We collected beetles using 486 pitfall traps arranged in fifty-four 100-m2 gridplots of nine traps settled at about 100 m of altitude apart from each other, from thebase to the summit of each mountain. We used multivariate analyses to identifybeetle assemblages and to evaluate their association with environment.3. We identified different beetle assemblages, associated more with vegetationtypes rather than with mountains; indicator species showed higher degree of fidelityand specificity to vegetation types rather than to mountains. Local variation intemperature, plant cover and richness, and soil characteristics influence the variationin species composition.4. Our study suggests the existence of a regional beetle fauna that is shared acrossthese mountains. Major regional changes in vegetation types and local variation inenvironment drive the variation in the species composition of beetle assemblages atthese latitudes.