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Grassland management affects vegetation structure, bats and their beetle prey

Anderson, Max; Norton, Lisa; Mathews, Fiona. 2020 Grassland management affects vegetation structure, bats and their beetle prey. Diversity, 12 (10), 406. 18, pp. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100406

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Abstract/Summary

Agricultural grasslands provide vital habitats for many species. Yet despite representing a significant proportion of European land use, they are disproportionately understudied compared to arable systems. Increases in productivity and intensification have led to changes in management practices, which are likely to affect grassland habitats and the ecological communities that they support. This study simultaneously monitored three trophic levels to assess the impacts of permanent versus temporary pasture (leys) on vegetation composition, carabid and dung beetle abundance, and the activity of beetle-feeding bats. Leys had lower abundances of soil-inhabiting dung beetles, which may be explained by the more recent exposure to tilling compared with permanent pasture. Beetle-feeding bat activity was also greater in leys, with positive relationships between E. serotinus activity and Onthophagus abundance across both pasture types. However, the lack of any positive relationships between beetle-feeding bat activity and Aphodius, a well-known prey genus, suggests that other key prey orders (Lepidoptera) may be of more influence on bat activity. As well as the management of pasture, differences in cattle management between pasture types can have a significant impact on vegetation and soil structure, which influence invertebrate communities and potentially dictate habitat suitability for bats.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100406
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1424-2818
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agriculture, grasslands, livestock management, dung beetle, carabid, bat, ley, permanent pasture, vegetation structure, heterogeneity
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 09 Nov 2020 15:10 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/528899

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