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Small-mammal assemblages inhabiting Sphagnum peat bogs in various regions of Poland

Abstract

We studied species composition of assemblages of small mammals (rodents and shrews) inhabiting Polish 25 ombrotrophic mires and quaking bogs in several regions in order to reveal characteristic features of their quantitative structure and compare them between regions, internal zones of the bog habitats, and different levels of anthropogenic degradation. We reviewed also all published results of small-mammal trapping in such habitats. Mammals were captured in pitfalls, snap traps and live traps on 12 bogs of the Pomerania region, 4 bogs of the Orawa-Nowy Targ Basin (Kotlina Orawsko-Nowotarska), 3 bogs in the Świętokrzyskie Mts, and 6 bogs in Wielkopolska and the Lubusz Land. Additionally, we included materials collected from Barber traps (pitfalls) used during studies of epigeic invertebrates on 4 bogs. In total, 598 individuals of 12 species were collected. The number of pitfall captures per 100 trapnights was very low (7.0-7.8), suggesting low population density. Shrews predominated among mammals captured in pitfalls, and the assemblage structure appeared to be similar to impoverished forest fauna, slightly enriched with ubiquitous species from meadows and agroecosystems, with a very small percentage of typical wetland species (Neomys fodiens, Neomys anomalus, Microtus oeconomus). Rodents (mostly Myodes glareolus) predominated only in samples obtained by live and snap traps. Pygmy shrew Sorex minutus was the most numerous species at most sites, sometimes being the only small mammal in that habitat, especially in well-preserved, treeless parts of bogs, dominated by Sphagnum peatmoss. The dominance and high constancy of S. minutus appear to be a characteristic feature of small-mammal assemblages inhabiting ombrotrophic mires, at least in some regions of Central and Western Europe. Enrichment of the fauna with other species might be related to either improved trophic conditions (by contact with mineralized ground waters) or habitat degradation (by peat mining, drainage, and subsequent secondary succession).

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Summer fire in steppe habitats: long-term effects on vegetation and autumnal assemblages of cursorial arthropods

Abstract

Being an essential driving factor in dry grassland ecosystems, uncontrolled fires can cause damage to isolated natural areas. We investigated a case of a small-scale mid-summer fire in an abandoned steppe pasture in northeastern Ukraine and focused on the post-fire recovery of arthropod assemblages (mainly spiders and beetles) and vegetation pattern. The living cover of vascular plants recovered in a year, while the cover of mosses and litter remained sparse for four years. The burnt site was colonised by mobile arthropods occurring in surrounding grasslands. The fire had no significant impact on arthropod diversity or abundance, but changed their assemblage structure, namely dominant complexes and trophic guild ratio. The proportion of phytophages reduced, while that of omnivores increased. The fire destroyed the variety of the arthropod assemblages created by the patchiness of vegetation cover. In the post-fire stage they were more similar to each other than at the burnt plot in the pre- and post-fire period. Spider assemblages tended to recover their pre-fire state, while beetle assemblages retained significant differences during the entire study period.

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Spatial Diversification of Bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apiformes) Assemblages in Forest Communities of the Suchedniów-Oblęgorek Landscape Park

Abstract

The aim of the study, carried out from April to October in 2004 and 2005, was to characterise bee (Apiformes) assemblages in the phytosociologically diversified forest communities of the Suchedniów-Oblęgorek Landscape Park. Moericke colour traps were used to capture the bees. The five study sites yielded 76 bee species. There was a predominance of representatives from the families Apidae (28 species, 900 individuals) and Andrenidae (20 species, 222 individuals). The indices of species diversity (H’) and evenness (J’) reached their highest values in a mixed coniferous forest (BM) site, and reached their lowest values in a fi r forest (BJ) site. Qualitative and quantitative similarity of assemblage structure was highest in assemblages in mixed coniferous forest, mesic coniferous forest, and oak-hornbeam forest habitats, decreasing in floristically poor habitats not favourable to nesting, i.e. fi r forest and riparian forest. Traps placed on the forest floor in ground cover contained more individuals and species of bees, with 1192 individuals (88.8%) and 76 species, than in the canopy layer, with 150 individuals (11.2%) and 23 species. This trend was consistent across all the habitats in the Landscape Park.

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Influence of Treated Sewage Discharge on the Benthos Ciliate Assembly in the Lowland River

Abstract

This paper presents results of the studies of ciliate assemblage in benthos of lowland river influenced by sewage discharged from the municipal wastewater treatment plant. During the presented research the 47 ciliate species, including 45 species from the benthos of the river and 18 from the activated sludge of aeration chamber were identified. Only two species registered in the activated sludge were not observed in the river. Against the background of the lowest number of species in the point located in the distance of 50 m below the discharge of sewage the maximum amount and biomass of these species were observed. Whereas, 200 m below the discharge the decrease in number and biomass of ciliate to the level noted for location before the discharge was observed. Thus, generalizing, one may state that influence of municipal WWTP sewage discharge for ciliate assemblage in the river’s benthos was clearly visible but local.

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Breeding avifauna of mature forest stands in the Borki Forest and its dynamics at the turn of the 21st century

Abstract

The composition and structure of the breeding bird community in the Borki Forest in north-eastern Poland were investigated during two separate periods: 1994–1996 and 2012–2014. Bird censuses were carried out in three plots located in mature oak-hornbeam, ash-alder and mixed coniferous forest stands. A standard combined mapping technique for estimating the number of breeding birds was applied. A total of 74 bird species bred at least once within any plot during 1994–1996 or 2012–2014. The structure of the bird assemblages on particular plots displayed a high degree of similarity, exceeding 75%, which means that they represent essentially the same bird community. However, the investigated assemblages have changed substantially over the 20 years. Both, the number of breeding bird species and the population densities on all plots, were much higher in 2012–2014 than in 1994–1996. The mean number of breeding species on all plots was over 50% higher in 2012–2014 than in 1994–1996, whereas the mean total density of breeding pairs increased by more than 60%. Total population densities on the plots increased as a result of an increase in population densities of individual bird species combined with an increase in the number of breeding species. Due to different rates of population growth for certain species, also the composition of dominating species group have changed. The observed changes in the avifauna of the Borki Forest were most probably due to an enrichment of the forest habitats structure, which was caused by natural factors, such as ageing of forest stands, forest succession and a change in water regime by beaver dams, as well as by forest management, including group felling within or in the vicinity of plots and uncovering of the forest edge.

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The Review of Ecological and Genetic Research of Ponto-Caspian Gobies (Pisces, Gobiidae) in Europe

Abstract

Invasive Ponto-Caspian gobies (monkey goby Neogobius fluviatilis, round goby Neogobius melanostomus and bighead goby Ponticola kessleri) have recently caused dramatic changes in fish assemblage structure throughout European river systems. This review provides summary of recent research on their dietary habits, age and growth, phylogenetic lineages and gene diversity. The principal food of all three species is invertebrates, and more rarely fish, which depends on the type of habitat, part of the year, as well as the morphological characteristics of species. According to the von Bertalanffy growth model, size at age is specific for the region, but due to its disadvantages it is necessary to test other growth models. Phylogenetic analysis of monkey goby and round goby indicates separation between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea haplotypes. The greatest genetic diversity is found among populations of the Black Sea, and the lowest among European invaders. The lack of molecular research on bighead goby requires further studies.

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Changes in the phytoplankton diversity of two oxbow lakes in a big city: a case study of Wrocław (Poland)

Abstract

The subject of this study is to analyse changes in the taxonomic structure and development intensity of phytoplankton and, thus, to determine the diversity of cyanobacteria and algae along with the trophy state of two oxbow lakes in the Wrocław area (south-western Poland). The analysis of samples and data from previous years showed a total of 244 cyanobacteria and algae species within these two lakes. The species composition changed significantly in both of them – there were found 90 species new to the studied flora (37% of current flora) and 74 species which were previously recorded. The diversity of cyanobacteria and algae reflects the conditions in these water bodies and each change in ecological conditions (e.g., anthropological dangers) is reflected by a change in the phytoplankton assemblage structure. Consequently, knowledge of taxonomic diversity is useful in monitoring water bodies to preserve them in good conditions. Both studied oxbow lakes belong to eutrophic ecosystems as evidenced by their phycoflora, which is rich in species characteristic of high-trophy water, and recorded water blooms. The analysis of changes in cyanobacterial and algal assemblages in these lakes was also a basis for determining their trophy and finding it to be progressively eutrophic. Regular phycological studies of Wrocław numerous water bodies are essential and, in the future, will allow us to protect them and to react quickly in case of danger to these ecosystems. It will also allow us to study eutrophication processes in the water bodies that are crucial to the city.

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Diversity Partitioning of Wild Bee Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes) and Species Preferences for Three Types of Refuge Habitats in an Agricultural Landscape in Poland

Abstract Patterns in bee assemblages consisting of 52 core (most abundant) species in farmland in the Wielkopolska region of W Poland were analysed. The entomological material was assessed during earlier research in 1978-1993 from 18 plots in three habitat types: shelterbelts, roadsides and forest patches. At the scale of the refuge habitat size analysed here, an increase in area only slightly enhanced bee species richness. The bee assemblage structures of roadsides and forest patches differ significantly, but their indicator species do not form any well-defined ecological groups. In non-linear forest patches, the bee community structure was more homogeneous than on roadsides. These two habitat types differed significantly in their species composition. Nine significant indicator species were found, but they did not share any ecological characteristics. Three factors were found to affect significantly the responses of individual bee species in the agricultural landscape: the degree of isolation of the refuge habitat, the edge ratio, and roadsides as a refuge habitat type. A large part of the regional diversity is due to the heterogeneity of habitats within the landscape. Habitat area has little influence on the diversity of wild bees, at least within the size range analysed here. We concluded from this study that, regardless of the habitat type, the density of bees from the summer phenological period is affected by the number of food plant species. Point forest patches are habitats where summer species from the genus Andrena and the cleptoparasitic genera Nomada and Sphecodes achieve their highest abundances. Roadsides negatively affected abundances of wild bees and there were no characteristic species for this type of habitat. We hypothesised that this might be related to the specific ecological part played by this type of habitat.

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Exploring Life Forms for Linking Orthopteran Assemblage and Grassland Plant Community

Abstract

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.

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Bony Fishes from the Late Miocene and Pliocene Strata of Popovo Locality (Ukraine): Taxonomic Changes and Their Palaeoecological Explanation

., Nadachowski, A. Late Miocene and Pliocene small mammal faunas (Insectivora, Lagomorpha, Rodentia) of Southeastern Europe // Acta zoologica cracoviensia. - 2001. - 44, N. 2. - P. 107-135. Odum, E. P. Fundamentals of Ecology. - Moskow : Mir, 1975. - 742 p. - Russian : Одум Ю. Основы эко- логии. Poff , N. L., Allan, J. D., Bain, M. B. et al. Th e natural fl ow regime // BioScience. - 1997. - 47. - P. 769-784. Pusey, B. J., Arthington, A. H., Read, M. G. Spatial and temporal variation in fi sh assemblage structure in the Mary

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