Drivers of community assembly change during succession in wood-decomposing beetle communities

Sebastian Seibold, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Didem Ambarlı, Martin M. Gossner, Akira S. Mori, Marc W. Cadotte, Jonas Hagge, Claus Bässler, Simon Thorn

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung

13 Zitate (Scopus)


The patterns of successional change of decomposer communities is unique in that resource availability predictably decreases as decomposition proceeds. Saproxylic (i.e. deadwood-dependent) beetles are a highly diverse and functionally important decomposer group, and their community composition is affected by both deadwood characteristics and other environmental factors. Understanding how communities change with faunal succession through the decomposition process is important as this process influences terrestrial carbon dynamics. Here, we evaluate how beta-diversity of saproxylic beetle communities change with succession, as well as the effects of different major drivers of beta-diversity, such as deadwood tree species, spatial distance between locations, climate and forest structure. We studied spatial beta-diversity (i.e. dissimilarity of species composition between deadwood logs in the same year) of saproxylic beetle communities over 8 years of wood decomposition. Our study included 379 experimental deadwood logs comprising 13 different tree species in 30 forest stands in Germany. We hypothesized that the effects of tree species dissimilarity, measured by phylogenetic distance, and climate on beta-diversity decrease over time, while the effects of spatial distance between logs and forest structure increase. Observed beta-diversity of saproxylic beetle communities increased over time, whereas standardized effects sizes (SES; based on null models) of beta-diversity decreased indicating higher beta-diversity than expected during early years. Beta-diversity increased with increasing phylogenetic distance between tree species and spatial distance among regions, and to a lesser extent with spatial distance within regions and differences in climate and forest structure. Whereas effects of space, climate and forest structure were constant over time, the effect of phylogenetic distance decreased. Our results show that the strength of the different drivers of saproxylic beetle community beta-diversity changes along deadwood succession. Beta-diversity of early decay communities was strongly associated with differences among tree species. Although this effect decreased over time, beta-diversity remained high throughout succession. Possible explanations for this pattern include differences in decomposition rates and fungal communities between logs or the priority effect of early successional communities. Our results suggest that saproxylic beetle diversity can be enhanced by promoting forests with diverse tree communities and structures.

Seiten (von - bis)965-978
FachzeitschriftJournal of Animal Ecology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Mai 2023
Extern publiziertJa


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