Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Interaction between regional temperature and shade level shapes saproxylic beetle communities

Gossmann, Anika; Ockinger, Erik; Schroeder, Martin; Lindman, Ly; Ranius, Thomas


AimThe 'concept of relative constancy of habitats' assumes that species differ in their habitat preferences depending on the regional temperature so that all populations experience similar microclimatic conditions. Our aim was to assess the relevance of this concept by disentangling the effects of shade level and regional temperature on southern and northern distributed saproxylic (=dead wood dependent) beetle species.LocationSweden.MethodsWe established a field experiment by placing 435 logs of Norway spruce (Picea abies) along shade gradients in six regions differing in regional temperature (along a 1200 km latitudinal gradient). For each log, we sampled the saproxylic beetle community and calculated the Community Temperature Index (CTI), indicating to what extent the community is dominated by southern or northern species.ResultsSpecies richness and total abundance were better explained by shade level, whereas species composition was better explained by study region. In colder regions, CTI varied along the shade gradient, whereas in warmer regions, CTI was more similar along the shade gradient. Moreover, in colder regions, the number of southern species was higher in sun-exposed logs, whereas in warmer regions, the number of southern species was higher in shaded logs. This supports the concept of relative constancy of habitats. In contrast, northern species preferred shaded conditions regardless of the regional temperature.Main ConclusionsRegional temperature, shade level and resulting microclimate are important drivers of species richness, total abundance and composition. Occurrence patterns of saproxylic beetle species follow to some extent the concept of relative constancy of habitats since their habitat preferences vary with regional temperature. Northern species are of conservation concern due to disadvantages by climate warming and clear-cutting. They are favoured by preserving forests with rarely disturbed canopies.


community index; dead wood; forest edge; forestry; microclimate; relative constancy of habitats; temperature

Published in

Diversity and Distributions
2024, Volume: 30, number: 5, article number: e13836
Publisher: WILEY