Seasonality in the altitude–diversity pattern of Alpine moths

Beck, Jan and Altermatt, Florian and Hagmann, Reto and Lang, Sylvia. (2010) Seasonality in the altitude–diversity pattern of Alpine moths. Basic and applied ecology, Vol. 11, H. 8 , S. 714–722.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5840859

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Altitudinal gradients are frequently used to study environmental effects on species diversity. Recent quantitative studies on Lepidoptera focussed on tropical mountain systems and often reported unimodal diversity peaks at “mid-elevations”;, a pattern also often found in other taxa. Here we used methodologically comparable, nocturnal Macrolepidoptera samples from the Swiss Alps to analyze environmental correlates of diversity. Using seasonal data (monthly samples from April to November at altitudes between 600 and 2400m a.s.l.) allowed to decouple altitude and some climate variables for analyses. We found that the altitude–diversity pattern changes with season. In spring and autumn, diversity decreased with increasing altitude, while we found a unimodal peak of diversity at mid-elevations during summer. This excluded all hypothetical causes of diversity variation that do not allow for seasonality. Temperature was an important correlate of diversity, whereas precipitation was not.These results were separately corroborated for the two most common families (Noctuidae and Geometridae). However, diversity patterns of the two families were not particularly close, and unexplained variance of climatic explanations was substantial in all cases. The patterns of faunal overlap did not explain the unimodal diversity pattern, and we claim that we lack a generally valid explanation for this common phenomenon.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Biogeographie (Nagel)
UniBasel Contributors:Beck, Jan
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 07:20
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 07:09

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