- Spider (Arachnida: Araneae) distribution across the timberline in the Swiss Central Alps (Alp Flix, Grisons) and three morphologically remarkable species (2007)
- We collected 6251 adult epigeic spiders from the dwarf-shrub heath to subalpine coniferous forest on Alp Flix (CH, canton Grisons, 1950 m) between May 2005 and May 2006 using pitfall traps. Total species richness and activity density of all species decreased from the open land to the forest, although this pattern varied according to family. The distribution of the 102 species found indicates that the small area around a single tree at the timberline provides habitats for both open land and forest spider species as well as some possible timberline specialists. Five species were new to the canton Grisons: Centromerita bicolor, Centromerita concinna, Hilaira excisa, Meioneta alpica and Tallusia experta. Three species showed remarkable morphological characteristics and were analysed in more detail. We found males of Pelecopsis radicicola without the characteristic longitudinal depression on the raised carapace. It is shown that the males of Meioneta alpica have a considerably variable lamella characteristica, which is nevertheless distinct from the sister species Meioneta ressli. Because we found intermediate forms of the head region described for Metopobactrus prominulus and M. schenkeli, respectively, M. schenkeli is considered a syn. nov. of M. prominulus. This study shows that the known distribution and taxonomic status of various spider taxa in the Central Alps are still incomplete and further work on arthropods in remote areas should be strongly encouraged.
- Kuschka V. (2004): Ackerbrachen als Chance für den Naturschutz? Struktur und Dynamik von Spinnenzönosen der Bodenoberfläche als Indikator der Habitatqualität (2004)
- Araneae: Spinnen Europas – Spiders of Europe: http://www.araneae.unibe.ch (2011)
- Seit Dezember 2003 warteten viele Arachnologen auf eine Aktualisierung des Internetbestimmungsschlüssels „Spinnen Mitteleuropas“. Die Umstellung des Systems von html auf php erwies sich aufgrund des komplexen Themas als umfangreicher als gedacht. Mit Daniel Gloor haben wir nun einen Datenbankund Internet-Fachmann in unseren Reihen, der sich (auch) dieser technischen Probleme annimmt.
- Open minded and open access: introducing NeoBiota, a new peer-reviewed journal of biological invasions (2011)
- The Editorial presents the focus, scope, policies, and the inaugural issue of NeoBiota, a new open access peer-reviewed journal of biological invasions. The new journal NeoBiota is a continuation of the former NEOBIOTA publication series. The journal will deal with all aspects of invasion biology and impose no restrictions on manuscript size neither on use of color. NeoBiota implies an XML-based editorial workflow and several cutting-edge innovations in publishing and dissemination, such as semantic markup of and enhancements to published texts, data publication, and extensive cross-linking within the journal and to external sources.
- Plant pathogens as biocontrol agents of Cirsium arvense – an overestimated approach? (2011)
- Cirsium arvense is one of the worst weeds in agriculture. As herbicides are not very effective and not accepted by organic farming and special habitats, possible biocontrol agents have been investigated since many decades. In particular plant pathogens of C. arvense have received considerable interest and have been promoted as “mycoherbicides” or “bioherbicides”. A total of 10 fungi and one bacterium have been proposed and tested as biocontrol agents against C. arvense. A variety of experiments analysed the noxious influence of spores or other parts of living fungi or bacteria on plants while others used fungal or bacterial products, usually toxins. Also combinations of spores with herbicides and combinations of several pathogens were tested. All approaches turned out to be inappropriate with regard to target plant specificity, effectiveness and application possibilities. As yet, none of the tested species or substances has achieved marketability, despite two patents on the use of Septoria cirsii and Phomopsis cirsii. We conclude that the potential of pathogens for biocontrol of C. arvense has largely been overestimated.
- Highest degrees of host specificity even in the inundative biocontrol approach. Response to Cripps et al. (2012)
- The response to the long letter, Cripps et al. (2012) wrote against Müller and Nentwig (Plant pathogens as biological agents of Cirsium arvense – an overestimated approach?
- Environmental and economic impact of alien terrestrial arthropods in Europe (2014)
- In the last few decades, the abundance and importance of invasive alien species have grown continuously due to the undiminished growth of global trade. In most cases, arthropod introductions were unintended and occurred as hitchhikers or contaminants. Alien arthropods can have significant environmental impacts and can be economically costly. To measure these impacts, we expand a generic impact scoring system initially developed for mammals and birds, and applied it to terrestrial arthropods. It consists of six environmental impact categories and six economic impact categories, each with five impact levels. Information on impact was derived from an intensive analysis of published scientific literature. The scoring of the 77 most widely distributed arthropod species alien to Europe revealed the mite Varroa destructor as the most harmful species, followed by the Chinese longhorn beetle Anoplophora chinensis and the Argentine ant Linepithema humile. The highest environmental impact is through herbivory, disease transmission, and ecosystem impacts. The highest economic impact is on agriculture and human infrastructure and administration. The generic impact scoring system allows the impact scores of vertebrates and arthropods to be compared, thus serving as a background for the decision making processes of policy makers and stakeholders.
- Species richness-environment relationships of European arthropods at two spatial grains : habitats and countries (2012)
- We study how species richness of arthropods relates to theories concerning net primary productivity, ambient energy, water-energy dynamics and spatial environmental heterogeneity. We use two datasets of arthropod richness with similar spatial extents (Scandinavia to Mediterranean), but contrasting spatial grain (local habitat and country). Samples of ground-dwelling spiders, beetles, bugs and ants were collected from 32 paired habitats at 16 locations across Europe. Species richness of these taxonomic groups was also determined for 25 European countries based on the Fauna Europaea database. We tested effects of net primary productivity (NPP), annual mean temperature (T), annual rainfall (R) and potential evapotranspiration of the coldest month (PETmin) on species richness and turnover. Spatial environmental heterogeneity within countries was considered by including the ranges of NPP, T, R and PETmin. At the local habitat grain, relationships between species richness and environmental variables differed strongly between taxa and trophic groups. However, species turnover across locations was strongly correlated with differences in T. At the country grain, species richness was significantly correlated with environmental variables from all four theories. In particular, species richness within countries increased strongly with spatial heterogeneity in T. The importance of spatial heterogeneity in T for both species turnover across locations and for species richness within countries suggests that the temperature niche is an important determinant of arthropod diversity. We suggest that, unless climatic heterogeneity is constant across sampling units, coarse-grained studies should always account for environmental heterogeneity as a predictor of arthropod species richness, just as studies with variable area of sampling units routinely consider area.