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The influence of landscape diversity and heterogeneity on spatial dynamics of agrobiont linyphiid spiders: An individual-based model


Spiders are important generalist predators in natural pest control. However, agricultural fields are highly disturbed and ephemeral habitats, which present a number of challenges to the organisms living there; likewise landscape diversity and heterogeneity are also thought to be important factors in determining spider spatial dynamics. To investigate the interactions between these factors, we present an individual-based simulation model, which integrates life history characteristics of a typical agrobiont linyphiid spider with a dynamic spatially explicit landscape representation. The landscape contains several habitat types of varying quality and varies in time and space. Simulations showed that spatial landscape diversity (number of habitat types available for the spiders) is crucial for the persistence of spiders, but that spatial heterogeneity (spatial arrangement of patches) only had little impact on spider abundance. The necessary landscape diversity could either be provided by a diverse crop rotation or by including refuges in the form of less frequently managed habitats in the landscape. The presence of refuges greatly boosted numbers of spiders in the landscape as a whole. The most important characteristics of refuge were sanctuary from pesticides and extra prey availability, whereas tillage frequency mattered less. The simulations indicated that agrobiont linyphiids’ combination of high dispersal abilities and high reproductive rate enables it to exploit the transient resources of the different habitats in the agricultural landscape.

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Thorbek, P., Topping, C. The influence of landscape diversity and heterogeneity on spatial dynamics of agrobiont linyphiid spiders: An individual-based model. Biocontrol 50, 1–33 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-004-1114-8

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  • Erigone atra
  • generalist predators
  • landscape ecology
  • spatial dynamics
  • spider