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Modelling the distribution of the invasive Roesel’s bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) in a fragmented landscape

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Author(s): Sonja Preuss | Anna Lundhagen | Åsa Berggren

Journal: NeoBiota
ISSN 1619-0033

Volume: 11;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Orthoptera | presence-absence data | spatial scale | landscape structure | land use

ABSTRACT
The development of conservation strategies to mitigate the impact of invasive species requires knowledge of the species ecology and distribution. This is, however, often lacking as collecting biological data may be both time-consuming and resource intensive. Species distribution models can offer a solution to this dilemma by analysing the species-environment relationship with help of Geographic information systems (GIS). In this study, we model the distribution of the non-native bush-cricket Metrioptera roeselii in the agricultural landscape in mid-Sweden where the species has been rapidly expanding in its range since the 1990s. We extract ecologically relevant landscape variables from Swedish CORINE land-cover maps and use species presence-absence data from large-scale surveys to construct a species distribution model (SDM). The aim of the study is to increase the knowledge of the species range expansion pattern by examining how its distribution is affected by landscape composition and structure, and to evaluate SDM performance at two different spatial scales. We found that models including data on a scale of 1 × 1 km were able to explain more of the variation in species distribution than those on the local scale (10 m buffer on each side of surveyed road). The amount of grassland in the landscape, estimated from the area of arable land, pasture and rural settlements, was a good predictor of the presence of the species on both scales. The measurements of landscape structure – linear elements and fragmentation - gave ambivalent results which differed from previous small scaled studies on species dispersal behaviour and occupancy patterns. The models had good predictive ability and showed that areas dominated by agricultural fields and their associated grassland edges have a high probability being colonised by the species. Our study identified important landscape variables that explain the distribution of M. roeselii in Mid-Sweden that may also be important to other range expanding orthopteran species. This work will serve as a foundation for future analyses of species spread and ecological processes during range expansion.
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