The increasing conversion of agricultural and natural areas to human-dominated urban landscapes is predicted to lead to a major decline in biodiversity worldwide. Two conditions that typically differ between urban environments and the surrounding landscape are increased temperature, and high patch isolation and habitat turnover rates. However, the extent and spatial scale at which these altered conditions shape biotic communities through selection and/or filtering on species traits are currently poorly understood. We sampled carabid beetles at 81 sites in Belgium using a hierarchically nested sampling design wherein three local-scale (200 x 200 m) urbanization levels were repeatedly sampled across three landscape-scale (3 x 3 km) urbanization levels. First, we showed that communities sampled in the most urbanized locations and landscapes displayed a distinct species composition at both local and landscape scale. Second, we related community means of species-specific thermal preferences and dispersal capacity (based on European distribution and wing morphology, respectively) to the urbanization gradients. We showed that urban communities consisted on average of species with a preference for higher temperatures and with better dispersal capacities compared to rural communities. These shifts were caused by an increased number of species tolerating higher temperatures, a decreased richness of species with low thermal preference, and an almost complete depletion of species with very low dispersal capacity in the most urbanized localities. Effects of urbanization were most clearly detected at the local scale, although more subtle effects could also be found at the scale of entire landscapes. Our results demonstrate that urbanization may fundamentally and consistently alter species composition by exerting a strong filtering effect on species dispersal characteristics and favouring replacement by warm-dwelling species.

Urbanization drives community shifts towards thermophilic and dispersive species at local and landscape scales

PIANO, ELENA;BONA, Francesca;ISAIA, MARCO;
2017

Abstract

The increasing conversion of agricultural and natural areas to human-dominated urban landscapes is predicted to lead to a major decline in biodiversity worldwide. Two conditions that typically differ between urban environments and the surrounding landscape are increased temperature, and high patch isolation and habitat turnover rates. However, the extent and spatial scale at which these altered conditions shape biotic communities through selection and/or filtering on species traits are currently poorly understood. We sampled carabid beetles at 81 sites in Belgium using a hierarchically nested sampling design wherein three local-scale (200 x 200 m) urbanization levels were repeatedly sampled across three landscape-scale (3 x 3 km) urbanization levels. First, we showed that communities sampled in the most urbanized locations and landscapes displayed a distinct species composition at both local and landscape scale. Second, we related community means of species-specific thermal preferences and dispersal capacity (based on European distribution and wing morphology, respectively) to the urbanization gradients. We showed that urban communities consisted on average of species with a preference for higher temperatures and with better dispersal capacities compared to rural communities. These shifts were caused by an increased number of species tolerating higher temperatures, a decreased richness of species with low thermal preference, and an almost complete depletion of species with very low dispersal capacity in the most urbanized localities. Effects of urbanization were most clearly detected at the local scale, although more subtle effects could also be found at the scale of entire landscapes. Our results demonstrate that urbanization may fundamentally and consistently alter species composition by exerting a strong filtering effect on species dispersal characteristics and favouring replacement by warm-dwelling species.
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http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13606/full
metacommunity, urban heat island effect, global change, habitat loss, species loss
Piano, E.; De Wolf, K.; Bona, F.; Bonte, D.; Bowler, D.E.; Isaia, M.; Lens, L.; Merckx, T; Mertens, D.; van Kerckvoorde, M.; De Meester, L.; Hendrickx, F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1621344
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