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Title: Seasonality and landscape characteristics impact species community structure and temporal dynamics of East African butterflies
Author(s): Schmitt, Thomas
Ulrich, WernerLook up in the Integrated Authority File of the German National Library
Delic, Andjela
Teucher, Mike
Habel, Jan ChristianLook up in the Integrated Authority File of the German National Library
Issue Date: 2021
Type: Article
Language: English
Abstract: Species community structures respond strongly to habitat changes. These are either driven by nature or human activities. The biota of East African drylands responds highly sensitively to natural and anthropogenic impacts. Thus, seasonality strongly influences resource availability in a cyclic manner during the year, with cyclic appearance of the different developmental stages of invertebrates, while man-made landscape transformations profoundly and permanently modify habitat structures and, as a consequence, species communities. Butterflies are an excellent model group for the study of the effects of seasonality, and to test for biodiversity responses to anthropogenic activities such as habitat modification, degradation and destruction. We performed transect counts of adult butterflies in riparian forests and their adjoining areas, either dry savannahs with occasional pasturing (i.e. near-natural status) or farmland areas with fields, gardens and settlements (i.e. highly degraded status with lack of original vegetation). Transects were set along the river beds as well as at 250 m and 500 m distances parallel to these rivers, with eight transects per distance class and site (i.e. 48 transects in total). We recorded habitat structures for each transect. Counts were conducted during the dry and the rainy season, with 16 repetitions for each single transect, i.e. eight per season and transect. We compiled trait data on morphology, geographic distribution, ecology, behaviour, and life-history for all butterfly species encountered. Our results show higher species richness and numbers of individuals in farmland transects compared with the savannah region. Seasonal fluctuations of the detectable species abundances between the rainy and dry season were severe. These fluctuations were much more pronounced for the savannah than the farmland area, i.e. was buffered by human activities. Farmland and savannah support two distinct butterfly communities, with generalist species being more common in the farmland communities. Strict habitat associations were comparatively weak and typical dry savannah and riparian forest species were not clearly restricted to the near natural landscape.
Open Access: Open access publication
License: (CC BY 4.0) Creative Commons Attribution 4.0(CC BY 4.0) Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Journal Title: Scientific reports
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Publisher Place: [London]
Volume: 11
Original Publication: 10.1038/s41598-021-94274-6
Page Start: 1
Page End: 10
Appears in Collections:Open Access Publikationen der MLU

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