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Effects of ecological flooding on the temporal and spatial dynamics of carabid beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) and springtails (Collembola) in a polder habitat

Pensoft Publishers
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.100.1538
  • Article
  • Design
  • Ecology


Abstract Within the scope of the Integrated Rhine Program an ecological flood gate and channel was inserted into the polder “Ingelheim” to enhance animal and plant diversity. In 2008, carabid beetles and springtails were collected, using pitfall traps, to measure the effects of ecological flooding and a strong precipitation event at a flood-disturbed and a dry location in this area. At both localities, xerophilic and mesophilic carabid beetle species were dominant throughout the study period. The total number of individuals of hygrophilic species was comparatively constant, while species number increased, partly due to the changed moisture conditions caused by ecological flooding and strong precipitation. Carabid beetle diversity and evenness decreased marginally when ecological flooding was absent. Springtails represent a less mobile arthropod order, and as such the impact of ecological flooding was stronger. An increase in both numbers of species and individuals of hygrophilic and hygrotolerant species occurred in the flood-disturbed location after ecological flooding. After the sites at both locations had dried, the number of individuals belonging to these species declined rapidly. In contrast to carabid species, the strong precipitation event showed no influence on hygrophilic springtail species. Thus, collembolan diversity and evenness decreased markedly in the absence of flooding. We showed that ecological flooding has an influence on the spatial and temporal dynamics of different arthropod groups that inhabit the polder “Ingelheim”. These findings demonstrate the importance of using different arthropod groups as bioindicators in determining the ecological value of a particular polder design.

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