, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 161-178
Date: 30 May 2006

Species change in an urban setting—ground and rove beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae and Staphylinidae) in Berlin

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Abstract

The influence of environmental parameters on epigeic beetle communities of forest fragments in an urbanization gradient was studied in Berlin. Eight deciduous forests along a rural to urban gradient were sampled with pitfall traps. Species richness did not decline across the rural to urban gradient. As expected, impervious surface cover as an indicator of urbanization correlated not only with habitat fragmentation and heat island effect but also with altered soil properties. The proportion of forest specialist staphylinid species decreased with increasing urbanization. The differences between staphylinid communities of neighboring forest fragments were enhanced in the most urban parts, probably due to increased habitat fragmentation. Furthermore, the loss of flightless species with increasing habitat isolation emphasized the influence of habitat fragmentation. The carabid communities revealed the urbanization effects not as clearly as the staphylinid communities, but both taxa revealed that direct anthropogenic habitat alteration, indicated by removal of decaying wood, favors open-habitat specialists. The extent of the urbanization influence seems to vary seasonally. Environmental parameters associated with urbanization explain the ordination of species communities in the winter better than in the summer. Heat island effect is suggested as an explanation for this difference.