Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 10, pp 2077–2089 | Cite as

110000 years of Quaternary beetle diversity change

  • P. Ponel
  • J. Orgeas
  • M.J. Samways
  • V. Andrieu-Ponel
  • J.-L. de Beaulieu
  • M. Reille
  • P. Roche
  • T. Tatoni


Our first aim was to document the effects of palaeotemperatures and vegetation changes on beetle assemblages, and secondly to determine the extent to which surrogacy analysis at the family taxonomic level reveals patterns evident from lower taxa analysis. The sedimentary sequence sampled on the experimental site of ‘La Grande Pile’ (Vosges, France) covers the whole of the last climatic cycle. Beetle fragments were extracted from 39 coring samples and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level. A total of 3092 beetle specimens belonging to 394 taxa were identified, more than half to species level. Carabidae, Staphylinidae and Curculionidae families together represented 40% of the overall taxa richness. Beetle taxa richness and assemblage composition varied markedly over time. Average summer temperatures clearly play a major role in diversity patterns, as temperature was positively correlated with taxon richness. Nevertheless, the warmest and the coldest periods were not the richest and the poorest, respectively, and the most humid period did not correspond to maximum beetle richness. Beetle assemblages are likely to fluctuate in response to other factors such as plant diversity and vegetation structure. Steppe-like vegetation did not reduce species richness while dense, homogenous and closed forests did. Family patterns mirrored those observed at the lower taxa level. This makes the family level a convincing alternative to lower taxonomic level analyses by representing a faithful picture of changing beetle diversity over a long period of time. Finally, evolution of beetle diversity over the Quaternary represents a convincing model for evaluating the effect of close and wide past climate changes, and for assisting in management of present-day biodiversity as part of the current anthropogenic global climate change.

Climate change Climate–beetle–vegetation relationships Coleoptera Fossil beetle diversity Quaternary 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Ponel
  • J. Orgeas
  • M.J. Samways
  • V. Andrieu-Ponel
  • J.-L. de Beaulieu
  • M. Reille
  • P. Roche
  • T. Tatoni

There are no affiliations available

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