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      Habitat Quality and Geometry Affect Patch Occupancy of Two Orthopteran Species

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          Abstract

          Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on distribution and population size of many taxa are well established. In contrast, less is known about the role of within-patch habitat quality for the spatial dynamics of species, even though within-patch habitat quality may substantially influence the dynamics of population networks. We studied occurrence patterns of two Orthopteran species in relation to size, isolation and quality of habitat patches in an intensively managed agricultural landscape (16.65 km 2) in the Swiss lowland. Occurrence of field crickets ( Gryllus campestris) was positively related to patch size and negatively to the distance to the nearest occupied patch, two measures of patch geometry. Moreover, field crickets were more likely to occur in extensively managed meadows, meadows used at low intensity and meadows dominated by Poa pratensis, three measures of patch quality. Occurrence of the large gold grasshopper ( Chrysochraon dispar) was negatively related to two measures of patch geometry, distance to the nearest occupied patch and perimeter index (ratio of perimeter length to patch area). Further, large gold grasshoppers were more likely to occupy patches close to water and patches with vegetation left uncut over winter, two measures of patch quality. Finally, examination of patch occupancy dynamics of field crickets revealed that patches colonized in 2009 and patches occupied in both 2005 and 2009 were larger, better connected and of other quality than patches remaining unoccupied and patches from which the species disappeared. The strong relationships between Orthopteran occurrence and aspects of patch geometry found in this study support the “area-and-isolation paradigm”. Additionally, our study reveals the importance of patch quality for occurrence patterns of both species, and for patch occupancy dynamics in the field cricket. An increased understanding of patch occupancy patterns may be gained if inference is based on variables related to both habitat geometry and quality.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Role: Editor
          Journal
          PLoS One
          PLoS ONE
          plos
          plosone
          PLoS ONE
          Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
          1932-6203
          2013
          31 May 2013
          : 8
          : 5
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach, Switzerland
          [2 ]Department of Environmental Sciences, Conservation Biology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
          Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
          Author notes

          Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

          Conceived and designed the experiments: GP SB MD BB. Performed the experiments: MD SB. Analyzed the data: KMS GP MD. Wrote the paper: GP KMS SB BB MD.

          Article
          PONE-D-12-33381
          10.1371/journal.pone.0065850
          3669274
          23741516

          This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

          Page count
          Pages: 12
          Funding
          The Vogelwarte ( http://www.vogelwarte.ch/home-en.html) paid the salaries of G. Pasinelli, S. Birrer and K. Meichtry-Stier. These three persons all contributed to analyzing and writing the article (as did B. Baur and M. Duss). The funders of Vogelwarte had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
          Categories
          Research Article
          Agriculture
          Agroecology
          Agro-Population Ecology
          Animal Management
          Animal Behavior
          Biology
          Ecology
          Autecology
          Biodiversity
          Environmental Protection
          Restoration Ecology
          Spatial and Landscape Ecology
          Terrestrial Ecology
          Population Biology
          Population Dynamics
          Metapopulation Dynamics
          Population Ecology
          Zoology
          Entomology

          Uncategorized

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