To examine the impact of urbanisation on arthropod biodiversity, carabid (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages were studied over 2 years along a rural-urban gradient representing increasing levels of human disturbance. Carabids were collected by pitfall trapping during their whole activity period in lowland oak forest patches in and near the city of Debrecen, Eastern Hungary, over two seasons (2001-2002). Carabid activity density was significantly higher in the rural than in the two other areas, but there was no significant difference in species richness (measured as mean number of species caught/trap). The proportion of forest specialists significantly decreased from the rural towards the urban area, and the proportion of forest specialist species was significantly higher in the rural and suburban areas than in the urban one. In contrast, the relative activity density of generalist species significantly increased along the rural-urban gradient. Both the relative number of open-habitat species and their activity density were significantly higher in the urban forest fragments than in the suburban and rural ones. The patterns found were consistent between the 2 years. Multidimensional scaling indicated pronounced changes in species composition along the gradient; the assemblages in urban forest fragments were more variable than in the other areas. A large proportion of the variation in overall activity density, species richness and the proportion of carabids with different habitat affinities could be explained by structural habitat variables (percentage cover by canopy, leaf litter, herbs and decaying wood), and prey availability.
- Habitat alteration hypothesis
- Increased disturbance hypothesis
- Intermediate disturbance hypothesis
- Species richness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation