Winners and losers over 35 years of dragonfly and damselfly distributional change in Germany

Bowler, Diana E.; Eichenberg, David; Conze, Klaus‐Jürgen; Suhling, Frank; Baumann, Kathrin; Benken, Theodor; Bönsel, André; Bittner, Torsten; Drews, Arne; Günther, André; Isaac, Nick J.B. ORCID:; Petzold, Falk; Seyring, Marcel; Spengler, Torsten; Trockur, Bernd; Willigalla, Christoph; Bruelheide, Helge; Jansen, Florian; Bonn, Aletta. 2021 Winners and losers over 35 years of dragonfly and damselfly distributional change in Germany. Diversity and Distributions, 27 (8). 1353-1366.

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Aim: Recent studies suggest insect declines in parts of Europe; however, the generality of these trends across different taxa and regions remains unclear. Standardized data are not available to assess large-scale, long-term changes for most insect groups but opportunistic citizen science data are widespread for some. Here, we took advantage of citizen science data to investigate distributional changes of Odonata. Location: Germany. Methods: We compiled over 1 million occurrence records from different regional databases. We used occupancy-detection models to account for imperfect detection and estimate annual distributions for each species during 1980–2016 within 5 × 5 km quadrants. We also compiled data on species attributes that were hypothesized to affect species’ sensitivity to different drivers and related them to the changes in species’ distributions. We further developed a novel approach to cluster groups of species with similar patterns of distributional change to represent multispecies indicators. Results: More species increased (45%) than decreased (29%) or remained stable (26%) in their distribution (i.e. number of occupied quadrants). Species showing increases were generally warm-adapted species and/or running water species, while species showing decreases were cold-adapted species using standing water habitats such as bogs. Time series clustering defined five main patterns of change—each associated with a specific combination of species attributes, and confirming the key roles of species’ temperature and habitat preferences. Overall, our analysis predicted that mean quadrant-level species richness has increased over most of the time period. Main conclusions: Trends in Odonata provide mixed news—improved water quality, coupled with positive impacts of climate change, could explain the positive trends of many species. At the same time, declining species point to conservation challenges associated with habitat loss and degradation. Our study demonstrates the great value of citizen science and the work of natural history societies for assessing large-scale distributional change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1366-9516
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: biodiversity monitoring, citizen science, long-term change, occupancy-detection models, range-shifting, trait-based
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Jul 2021 15:50 +0 (UTC)

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