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Microlepidoptera in salt marshes – Life history, effects of grazing, and their suitability as ecological indicators
Ricket, C. (2011). Microlepidoptera in salt marshes – Life history, effects of grazing, and their suitability as ecological indicators. Faunistisch-ökologische Mitteilungen, Suppl. 37. Faunistisch-Ökologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Ökologie-Zentrum, Universität: Kiel. 125 pp.
Part of: Faunistisch-ökologische Mitteilungen. Wachholtz: Neumünster. ISSN 0430-1285, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Author 
    VLIZ: Non-open access 264522

Keywords
    Ecology; Salt marshes; Species diversity; Lepidoptera

Author  Top 
  • Ricket, C.

Abstract
    The aim of this thesis was to investigate the species richness of halobiontic moths of Schleswig-Holstein and to analyse their response to grazing management with sheep. Studies on the life history of specialised moth species were accomplished. Additionally, moth indicator species were named and proposed to be integrated in salt marsh monitoring programmes.Study sites were located along the Western coast of Schleswig-Holstein. Between 2006 and 2009, differently managed salt marshes were sampled by net-sweeping, lighttrapping photoeclectors, and the collection of larval stages.Altogether, 87 Microlepidoptera species were caught, of which 28 were considered halobiontic and occur mainly or only on salt marshes and inland saltings. In comparison to the occurrence of halobiontic moths before 1985 an increase in species richness wasdetectable, which was most likely associated with the cessation or extensification of grazing after the designation as National Park in 1985.By standardised sampling on sites of an existing (25 years) grazing experiment on the Hamburger Hallig, the effects of grazing on the vegetation as well as on the species richnessand abundance of moths could be determined. Comparisons to previous results on the reaction of invertebrate assemblages to grazing derived from an short-term grazing experiment (DIERßEN et al. 1994) enabled conclusions on underlying patterns and possibletrends.Moth communities were found to react highly sensitively to sheep grazing. With increasing grazing intensity a distinct shift in dominant species from Aster-feeding, halobiontic moths to often common species developing on grasses was evident. By tendency,a positive influence of extensive grazing on species richness was recognisable, though only minor differences towards the ungrazed sites was found. A comparative analysis of moth communities in short- and mid-term grazing experiments suggested a positive effect of extensive to moderate grazing intensities in long-term grazing management. Intensive grazing, however, led to an impoverished moths community.In the short-term grazing experiment, moth assemblages were found to react more sensitively to grazing than spider, beetle and fly assemblages. Neither conclusions on the relationship of species richness between groups, nor a general pattern in the response of invertebrate communities to grazing could be derived.

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