Subtle Effects of Experimental Grassland Fragmentation on Density, Species Composition and Functional Dispersion of Gastropods

Braschler, Brigitte and Oggier, Peter and Baur, Bruno. (2022) Subtle Effects of Experimental Grassland Fragmentation on Density, Species Composition and Functional Dispersion of Gastropods. Diversity, 14 (6). p. 474.

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The fragmentation of continuous habitats has significant consequences for species and for the functional diversity of plant and animal communities. Fragmentation effects can be indirect, can occur at different spatial scales and may vary over years. Small fragmentation-related effects may only be detected in standardized, controlled field experiments accounting for the natural variation in environmental conditions and in remnants of habitat. Using a non-invasive trapping approach, we examined the responses of terrestrial gastropods (snails and slugs) to small-scale habitat fragmentation in a controlled experiment conducted in three species-rich, nutrient-poor calcareous grasslands in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland, over four years. We found site-specific differences in species richness, individual density, and species composition. Experimental grassland fragmentation did not significantly affect species richness or density, but affected functional dispersion (a measure of functional diversity) in the final year, indicating that fragmentation-related changes may occur with a time delay. Similarly, experimental fragmentation influenced the mean shell size of the snail assemblage and the proportions of individuals with certain life-history traits or habitat preferences in some years. The observed fragmentation effects were subtle and varied over time, underlining the importance of controlled field experiments.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Braschler, Brigitte and Baur, Bruno
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:27 Jun 2022 12:45
Deposited On:27 Jun 2022 12:45

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