Trait correlates of distribution trends in the Odonata of Britain and Ireland

Powney, Gary D.; Cham, Steve S.A.; Smallshire, Dave; Isaac, Nick J.B.. 2015 Trait correlates of distribution trends in the Odonata of Britain and Ireland. PeerJ, 3, e1410. 14, pp.

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A major challenge in ecology is understanding why certain species persist, while others decline, in response to environmental change. Trait-based comparative analyses are useful in this regard as they can help identify the key drivers of decline, and highlight traits that promote resistance to change. Despite their popularity trait-based comparative analyses tend to focus on explaining variation in range shift and extinction risk, seldom being applied to actual measures of species decline. Furthermore they have tended to be taxonomically restricted to birds, mammals, plants and butterflies. Here we utilise a novel approach to estimate occurrence trends for the Odonata in Britain and Ireland, and examine trait correlates of these trends using a recently available trait dataset. We found the dragonfly fauna in Britain and Ireland has undergone considerable change between 1980 and 2012, with 22 and 53% of species declining and increasing, respectively. Distribution region, habitat specialism and range size were the key traits associated with these trends, where habitat generalists that occupy southern Britain tend to have increased in comparison to the declining narrow-ranged specialist species. In combination with previous evidence, we conclude that the lower trend estimates for the narrow-ranged specialists could be a sign of biotic homogenization with ecological specialists being replaced by warm-adapted generalists.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 2167-8359
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: dragonfly, climate change, comparative analysis, range change, species characteristics
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 19 Nov 2015 14:12 +0 (UTC)

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