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Seasonal patterns in the structure of epigeic beetle (Coleoptera) assemblages in two subarctic habitats in Nunavut, Canada

  • C.M. Ernst (a1) and C.M. Buddle (a1)

Seasonal patterns in the taxonomic and functional structure of epigeic Coleoptera assemblages in wet and mesic habitats were studied in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. Using pan and pitfall traps, 2638 beetles were collected between 21 June and 13 August 2010. Fifty species (including 17 new territory records) in 11 families were identified. The biomass of each specimen was estimated, and each was assigned to a functional group. Species composition differed between habitats throughout the active season and there was a rapid compositional turnover even though species diversity was similar in both habitats and among sampling periods. The functional beetle assemblages in the two habitats were different, and both assemblages experienced seasonal turnover in function; this effect was more pronounced in the mesic habitats. The beetle fauna in both habitats was predominantly entomophagous. We also examined the influence of seasonal weather patterns on assemblage structure: there is a significant relationship between mean daily temperature and assemblage structure. This relationship indicates that changes in weather (or longer-term changes in climate) could affect the diversity and ecological function of insects in this system. Given the significance of insects in the north, this could result in important changes to northern ecology.

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