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Exploring Life Forms for Linking Orthopteran Assemblage and Grassland Plant Community


Orthopterans are well known to represent the majority of insect biomass in many grassland ecosystems. However, the verification of a relationship between the traditional descriptors of orthopteran assemblage structure and plant community patterns is not straightforward. We explore the usefulness of the concept of life forms to provide insights on such ecosystem level relationship. For this purpose, thirty sample sites in semi-natural calcareous grasslands were classified according to the relative proportion of dominant herbaceous plant life forms. Orthopteran species were grouped in four categories, based on the Bei-Bienko’s life form categorization. The association among plant communities, orthopteran assemblages and environmental factors was tested by means of canonical correspondence analysis. Orthoptera groups were found to be associated with distinct plant communities, also indicating the effect of vegetation change on orthopteran assemblages. In particular, geobionta species were associated with all the most disturbed plant communities, while chortobionta and thamnobionta seemed to be dependent on better preserved grassland types. Therefore, the use of life forms could help informing on the relationships of orthopteran assemblages with grassland conservation state. Information on such community relationships at the local scale could also assist managers in the interpretation of habitat change maps in terms of biodiversity changes.

Calendario de la edición:
2 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other