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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 2149–2165 | Cite as

A decade of change in the saproxylic beetle fauna of eucalypt logs in the Warra long-term log-decay experiment, Tasmania. 1. Description of the fauna and seasonality patterns

  • Simon J. GroveEmail author
  • Lynette Forster
Original Paper

Abstract

The first decade of sequential and cyclical sampling of saproxylic beetles by means of eclector traps on 12 freshly-felled Eucalyptus obliqua logs at Warra, Tasmania has allowed documentation of a taxonomically and ecologically diverse fauna present in such logs in their early decompositional state. About half of all species are apparently undescribed—a much higher proportion than in most temperate regions. The distribution of individuals among species is typically skewed, with most species being rare and few being common. Neither obligately nor facultatively saproxylic beetles dominate the fauna, but predators predominate over other larval feeding guilds, and—in accordance with ecological theory for early successional habitats—winged species predominate over functionally flightless species. There is some suggestion that trophic structure changed over the period of the study, with the proportion of functionally flightless species increasing. The fauna shows strong seasonality. While the summer months represent the peak of occurrence for most species (in keeping with the cool-temperate climate), every month has its own particular complement of species, such that a strong seasonal cycle in assemblage composition is apparent throughout the year. The timings of emergence peaks vary among the years represented in this study by up to 2 months, with the year of latest emergence corresponding to that with the lowest mean annual maximum temperature; no signature of climate change is evident in the data-set.

Keywords

Saproxylic beetles Tasmania Australia Long-term ecological research Trophic structure Seasonality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Warra log-decay experiment was initiated in August 1999 with 3 years of funding from the Australian Research Council (C19906735). Rob Taylor (formerly Forestry Tasmania) oversaw the project formulation and design, while Caroline Mohammed (formerly CSIRO), Tim Wardlaw (FT), Alastair Richardson (formerly University of Tasmania) and Dave deLittle (formerly North Forest Products) were all involved in its early implementation. Dick Bashford (FT) designed and constructed the eclectors and carried out much other groundwork and sample collection, ably assisted (at different times) by Andy Muirhead, Billy Burton, Nita Ramsden and Alison Phillips (all FT). At FT, Belinda Yaxley, Bron Appleby and the authors of this paper (primarily LF) sorted most of the samples and mounted most of the beetles, while Marie Yee assisted the authors of this paper (primarily LF) in identifying them. Tim Wardlaw and two anonymous referees kindly provided useful comments on previous drafts of this paper.

Supplementary material

10531_2011_79_MOESM1_ESM.doc (178 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 179 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Forest Research and DevelopmentForestry TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.School of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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