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Physical and land-cover variables influence ant functional groups and species diversity along elevational gradients

Bernadou, Abel and Céréghino, Régis and Barcet, Hugues and Combe, Maud and Espadaler, Xavier and Fourcassié, Vincent Physical and land-cover variables influence ant functional groups and species diversity along elevational gradients. (2013) Landscape Ecology, vol. 28 (n° 7). pp. 1387-1400. ISSN 0921-2973

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-013-9892-y

Abstract

Of particular importance in shaping species assemblages is the spatial heterogeneity of the environment. The aim of our study was to investigate the influence of spatial heterogeneity and environmental complexity on the distribution of ant functional groups and species diversity along altitudinal gradients in a temperate ecosystem (Pyrenees Mountains). During three summers, we sampled 20 sites distributed across two Pyrenean valleys ranging in altitude from 1,009 to 2,339 m by using pitfall traps and hand collection. The environment around each sampling points was characterized by using both physical and land-cover variables. We then used a self-organizing map algorithm (SOM, neural network) to detect and characterize the relationship between the spatial distribution of ant functional groups, species diversity, and the variables measured. The use of SOM allowed us to reduce the apparent complexity of the environment to five clusters that highlighted two main gradients: an altitudinal gradient and a gradient of environmental closure. The composition of ant functional groups and species diversity changed along both of these gradients and was differently affected by environmental variables. The SOM also allowed us to validate the contours of most ant functional groups by highlighting the response of these groups to the environmental and land-cover variables.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UPS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - UT2J (FRANCE)
Other partners > Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona - UAB (SPAIN)
Other partners > Universität Regensburg - UR (GERMANY)
Laboratory name:
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Deposited By: Régis Cereghino
Deposited On:04 Dec 2013 10:30

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