New methodological paper

Assessing spider diversity in grasslands – does pitfall trap color matter? has been accepted in Journal of Arachnology.

Authors Möller M & Buchholz S

We analyzed effects of pitfall trap color (white, yellow, green, brown) on spider catches and found differences in alpha-diversity and one biological trait, namely hunting type. Attractiveness of different trap colors may arise due to differences in biological preconditions, albedo and microclimate which in turn can affect diversity and community structure of spiders. Trap color has a significant impact on spider catches and should be considered when planning surveys.

Phenotypic expressions in sand lizards

Pilot project started …

… with Johannes Müller from Museum für Naturkunde Berlin on urban ecology and phenotypic expressions in different Berlin populations of the sand lizard Lacerta agilis, including field 3D photogrammetry. In particular, we are keen to detect possible intra-specific trait variations in sand lizard populations along rural-urban gradients.

Galápagos Research Trip 2018

Working at the Charles Darwin Research Station again

Thanks to a research fellowship sponsored by the Schimper Stiftung I was able to go to the Galápagos in February. It was great to continue my work on the Scalesia restoration project in the highlands of Santa Cruz. After intensive work in the invertebrate lab we finished all spider and beetles identifications and counted all other invertebrates caught within the long-term monitoring. This program started in 2014 and invertebrates were caught in 34 plots using pitfall and Malaise traps. First results have been recently published but more detailed analyses will be available soon.

New paper

Connectivity or area – what drives plant species richness in habitat corridors? has been accepted in Landscape Ecology.

Authors Thiele J, Kellner S, Buchholz S & Schirmel J

In a nutshell, we found out that connectivity is more important for plant species richness in linear landscape elements than area. In particular, the richness of plant species that are dispersal limited and confined to semi-natural habitats benefits from connective networks of linear landscape elements in agricultural landscapes.

New paper …

Restauración del bosque de Scalesia invadido por mora: Impactos en la vegetación, los invertebrados y las aves has been published in Informe Galápagos.

Authors Jäger H, S Buchholz, A Cimadom, S Tebbich, J Rodríguez, D Barrera, A Wolentowitz, M Breuer, A Carrión, C Sevilla & C Causton

Field work news – Chapter 2

Biodiversity assessments at full blast

My last post belongs to the past by now – anyway, that means that I moved to my outdoor workplace. We are mapping sand lizard populations and sampling pollinators, moths (and recording bats at the same time) and still ground-dwelling arthropods. We also running an experiments to measure seed predation along urban gradients. Hopefully we are able to start another experiment on pollinator visitation rates soon – so long as the weather is co-operating.

Field work news – Chapter 1

Plants, plant traits and ground-dwelling arthropods

Unfortunately, spring was very cold and rainy but however, we ‚bravely‘ started our field work for the BIBS project some weeks ago. Currently, our team is doing the plant diversity assessments and also pitfall traps are exposed. Moreover, we are measuring plant traits to analyse intraspecific trait variations along the urbanisation gradient – we are going to run these analyses for invertebrate taxa and hopefully sand lizard populations as well – wait and see. In addition, some students are observing phenology of plant species at 30 sites – very labour-intensive. Today I emptied our pitfall traps for the first time and I can’t wait to study our samples in the lab.

Sand lizards move downtown

Conference talk (in German) in Berlin

Die Zauneidechse mag es urban. Was bedeutet das für den Artenschutz und die Stadtplanung?“. Meeting of the Brandenburg Berlin herpetologists in Berlin – more information. If you are interested in our studies on urban effects on sand lizard populations, please read our article „The sand lizard moves downtown – habitat analogues for an endangered species in a  metropolitan area“ in Urban Ecosystems.

Treffen der Brandenburg-Berliner Feldherpetologen am 18.02.2017 in Berlin, Herzberge (Informationen und Programm).

New paper on urban grasshoppers!

Grasshopper diversity of urban wastelands is primarily boosted by habitat factors has been published in Insect Diversity and Conservation.

Authors Eckert S, Möller M & Buchholz S

Abstract Urban wastelands are considered to be valuable habitats for biodiversity conservation, but empirical evidence for several poorly investigated taxa such as grasshoppers is still pending – although urgently required for reasonable habitat management and urban planning. For the first time, we analysed grasshopper diversity of urban wastelands at different diversity levels, namely, alpha and functional diversity. In 2014, we selected 24 urban wastelands in the city of Berlin (Germany).

Urban wasteland harbouring a Calliptamus italicus population

Urban wasteland harbouring a Calliptamus italicus population

We analysed the relationships between local and landscape factors and different measurements of diversity (species richness, Simpson diversity, functional dispersion, functional evenness and functional divergence). We sampled 21 species, which represented about 45% of the entire grasshopper fauna of Berlin and numerous species of conservation interest were present at the investigated sites. Grasshopper diversity was best explained by local factors, with herb cover having a positive effect on alpha and functional diversity. Human impact and accessibility increased the conservation value of urban wasteland sites.

Late successional stages are very important for a high grasshopper diversity in general but early stages are mandatory to promote species of conservation concern. Urban wastelands can be turned into most promising transition zones for city-dwellers that fulfil the needs of conservationists and specialised species at the same time. To achieve this goal we recommend minimum requirements for successful habitat management.