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The diversity and composition of moth assemblages of protected and degraded raised bogs in Ireland

Flynn, C and Griffin, CT and Coll, J and Williams, CD (2016) The diversity and composition of moth assemblages of protected and degraded raised bogs in Ireland. INSECT CONSERVATION AND DIVERSITY, 9 (4). pp. 302-319. ISSN 1752-458X

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Abstract

1. Peatlands are a globally important habitat, which act as net carbon stores. Raised bogs in the midlands of Ireland are a diminishing and increasingly fragmented peatland habitat as a result of drainage, peat extraction and agricultural intensification. A network of protected sites has been established, which is intended to represent the best abiotic and plant community systems.
2. Lepidoteran communities are an important component raised bog biodiversity and may be useful as biodiversity indicators, yet they are a neglected area of research. We address this by surveying nocturnal lepidopteran communities on six degraded and six protected raised bogs. We collected 1,816 individuals (representing 93 species) across all sites.
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3. Poisson generalised linear models were fitted to our count data and assessed using the Akaike information criterion (AIC) values. Models that included designation status were preferred for six species, three of which were more abundant on designated sites and three were more abundant on degraded sites. We discuss these findings in relation to the species’ known autecologies. Larval food plant choice, particularly due to the presence of invasive and non-typical plants, explained the alignment of species with undesignated sites. Other factors such as structural heterogeneity or nectar availability, may explain the alignment of most species with designated sites.
4. Rank abundance diagrams (RADs) of the total moth community were similar between protected and degraded sites, but the RADs of bog-associated species of conservation concern were different between protected and degraded sites with rarer bog associates being relatively better represented at the protected sites. This result was supported by Multi-response permutation-procedure (MRPP) analysis.
5. In general, differences between moth communities on degraded and protected raised bogs are rather subtle, with assemblages on both site types generally similar, but there is evidence that the “coarse filter” approach to conservation is working for some of the most important moth communities i.e. those that are bog-associated and of conservation concern. However, degraded sites may have a role to play in peatland invertebrate conservation, hitherto undervalued.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0502 Environmental Science And Management, 0602 Ecology, 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: WILEY-BLACKWELL
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 11:30
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2016 11:30
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/icad.12167
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4010

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