Biotic predictors complement models of bat and bird responses to climate and tree diversity in European forests

Barbaro, Luc; Allan, Eric; Ampoorter, Evy; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Charbonnier, Yohan; De Wandeler, Hans; Kerbiriou, Christian; Milligan, Harriet T.; Vialatte, Aude; Carnol, Monique; Deconchat, Marc; De Smedt, Pallieter; Jactel, Hervé; Koricheva, Julia; Le Viol, Isabelle; Muys, Bart; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Verheyen, Kris; van der Plas, Fons (2019). Biotic predictors complement models of bat and bird responses to climate and tree diversity in European forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological sciences, 286(1894), p. 20182193. The Royal Society 10.1098/rspb.2018.2193

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Bats and birds are key providers of ecosystem services in forests. How climate and habitat jointly shape their communities is well studied, but whether biotic predictors from other trophic levels may improve bird and bat diversity models is less known, especially across large bioclimatic gradients. Here, we achieved multi-taxa surveys in 209 mature forests replicated in six European countries from Spain to Finland, to investigate the importance of biotic predictors (i.e. the abundance or activity of defoliating insects, spiders, earthworms and wild ungulates) for bat and bird taxonomic and functional diversity. We found that nine out of 12 bird and bat diversity metrics were best explained when biotic factors were added to models including climate and habitat variables, with a mean gain in explained variance of 38% for birds and 15% for bats. Tree functional diversity was the most important habitat predictor for birds, while bats responded more to understorey structure. The best biotic predictors for birds were spider abundance and defoliating insect activity, while only bat functional evenness responded positively to insect herbivory. Accounting for potential biotic interactions between bats, birds and other taxa of lower trophic levels will help to understand how environmental changes along large biogeographical gradients affect higher-level predator diversity in forest ecosystems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Allan, Eric and van der Plas, Alfons Leendert Derk

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1471-2954

Publisher:

The Royal Society

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

16 Apr 2019 15:29

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2019 02:33

Publisher DOI:

10.1098/rspb.2018.2193

Uncontrolled Keywords:

ungulate browsing; defoliating insects; earthworms; functional diversity; spiders; trophic interactions

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.127192

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/127192

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