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Evidence of a latitudinal gradient in spider diversity in Australian cotton

Whitehouse, M.E.A. and Hardwick, S. and Scholz, B.C.G. and Annells, A.J. and Ward, A. and Grundy, P.R. and Harden, S. (2009) Evidence of a latitudinal gradient in spider diversity in Australian cotton. Austral Ecology, 34 (1). pp. 10-23.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2008.01874.x

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home

Abstract

The most common explanation for species diversity increasing towards the tropics is the corresponding increase in habitats (spatial heterogeneity). Consequently, a monoculture (like cotton in Australia) which is grown along a latitudinal gradient, should have the same degree of species diversity throughout its range. We tested to see if diversity in a dominant cotton community (spiders) changed with latitude, and if the community was structurally identical in different parts of Australia. We sampled seven sites extending over 20 degrees of latitude. At each site we sampled 1-3 fields 3-5 times during the cotton growing season using pitfall traps and beatsheets, recording all the spiders collected to family. We found that spider communities in cotton are diverse, including a large range of foraging guilds, making them suitable for a conservation biological control programme. We also found that spider diversity increased from high to low latitudes, and the communities were different, even though the spiders were in the same monocultural habitat. Spider beatsheet communities around Australia were dominated by different families, and responded differently to seasonal changes, indicating that different pest groups would be targeted at different locations. These results show that diversity can increase from high to low latitudes, even if spatial heterogeneity is held constant, and that other factors external to the cotton crop are influencing spider species composition. Other models which may account for the latitudinal gradient, such as non-equilibrium regional processes, are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science, Plant Science
Business groups:Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:© Ecological Society of Australia.
Keywords:Araneae; Bt; community; conservation biological control; habitat hetrogenity; insecticide; rarefaction curve; species diversity; biological control; natural enemies; fleahopper; Hemiptera; Oxyopes salticus; climate change; Texas cotton; pest control; Araneae; predators.
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Science > Biology > Ecology
Deposited On:10 Feb 2009 06:13
Last Modified:26 Oct 2011 05:13

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