Section 4
Chapter 3,789

Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as bioindicators

Rainio, J.; Niemela, J.

Biodiversity and Conservation 12(3): 487-506


ISSN/ISBN: 0960-3115
DOI: 10.1023/a:1022412617568
Accession: 003788862

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One of the primary goals of research on bioindicators is to identify species or other taxonomic units that would reliably indicate disturbances in the environment, and reflect the responses of other species or the overall biodiversity. However, there is no perfect bioindicator and selecting the most suitable one depends to a great extent on the goal of the survey. In this paper we examine the suitability of carabids as bioindicators. Carabids are frequently used to indicate habitat alteration. They have been used in grasslands and boreal forests where species number and/or abundances have been noted to change along a habitat disturbance gradient. A common trend is that large, poorly dispersing specialist species decrease with increased disturbance while small generalist species with good dispersal ability increase. Some species are not affected by moderate disturbance. There is, however, not enough research to determine how suitable carabids are for biodiversity studies, or how well they represent the response of other species. We conclude that carabids are useful bioindicators, but as crucial understanding of their relationship with other species is incomplete, they should be used with caution.

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