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Landscape – Microhabitat Interactions

In modern ecology and conservation work, the habitat requirements of a species is most often documented as the realized niche. That is a combination of abiotic factors, species interactions, landscape history, and the fundamental physical requirements of a species (the fundamental niche). The presence of a species at a certain place should be seen as a consequence of the species requirements to the above mentioned factors. These factors work in an interactive way and thereby the study of one or two of them might be flawed by the effect of others.

Studies addressing the linkage between microhabitats and landscape distributions most often focus on the up- or downscaling effect of parameters occurring at one spatiotemporal scale. To this day, few studies have investigated how processes on one scale affect processes on other scales. Thus, still very little is known about how the realized niche of species is affected by landscape history and structure. In my work, I focus on addressing this question by conducting species specific metacommunity studies across ranges and temporal scales. This allows for conclusions on species realized niche which are not biased by local spatial attributes at a given time point. Ongoing projects involves the microhabitat dependencies of the dragonfly Leucorrhinia pectoralis and threat factors of the common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus across its central European distribution.