A comparison of an ecological model and GIS spatial analysis to describe niche partitioning amongst carrion beetles in Nebraska

Andrew A. Bishop, Marc Albrecht, Wyatt W. Hoback, Kerri M. Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carrion beetles depend on vertebrate carcasses to rear their young. Carcasses are a limited resource with patchy distribution, and there is an intense competition among many species for these carcasses. This situation is expected to lead to niche partitioning, such that different beetle species use different resources and thus escape direct competition. Our project used a geographic information system (GIS) and pitfall sampling to characterize carrion beetle preferences for soil texture and land use in Kearney County, Nebraska. The GIS was used to select sites where sampling was conducted using pitfall traps baited with rat carcasses. Attracted beetles were counted, identified to species, and released. The resulting data were used to construct occurrence maps of eleven species of carrion beetles by overlaying soil texture and land use. We then compared the results of EcoSim (an ecological simulation model of niche overlap) with GIS-generated maps of probability of carrion beetle occurrence. Our results are consistent with landscape-level niche partitioning by seven of the eleven examined species. Our application of GIS to the spatial analysis of carrion beetle distributions demonstrates how this technology can be used to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses, predict habitat associations, and examine the effects of land use on a community of insects. This work could easily be extended to study the habitat preferences of the federally endangered American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages14
JournalTransactions in GIS
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2002

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carrion
niche partitioning
spatial analysis
beetle
land use
soil by texture
niche overlap
geographic information system
comparison
pitfall trap
sampling
soil texture
resource use
habitat selection
vertebrate
insect
habitat
resource

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

A comparison of an ecological model and GIS spatial analysis to describe niche partitioning amongst carrion beetles in Nebraska. / Bishop, Andrew A.; Albrecht, Marc; Hoback, Wyatt W.; Skinner, Kerri M.

In: Transactions in GIS, Vol. 6, No. 4, 10.2002, p. 457-470.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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