Plant Functional Dispersion, Vulnerability and Originality Increase Arthropod Functions from a Protected Mountain Mediterranean Area in Spring uri icon


  • Plant diversity often contributes to the shape of arthropod communities, which in turn supply important ecosystem services. However, the current biodiversity loss scenario, particularly worrying for arthropods, constitutes a threat for sustainability. From a trait-based ecology approach, our goal was to evaluate the bottom-up relationships to obtain a better understanding of the conservation of the arthropod function within the ecosystem. Specifically, we aim: (i) to describe the plant taxonomic and functional diversity in spring within relevant habitats of a natural protected area from the Mediterranean basin; and (ii) to evaluate the response of the arthropod functional community to plants. Plants and arthropods were sampled and identified, taxonomic and functional indices calculated, and the plant–arthropod relationships analyzed. Generally, oak forests and scrublands showed a higher plant functional diversity while the plant taxonomic richness was higher in grasslands and chestnut orchards. The abundance of arthropod functional groups increased with the plant taxonomic diversity, functional dispersion, vulnerability and originality, suggesting that single traits (e.g., flower shape or color) may be more relevant for the arthropod function. Results indicate the functional vulnerability of seminatural habitats, the relevance of grasslands and chestnut orchards for arthropod functions and pave the way for further studies about plant–arthropod interactions from a trait-based ecology approach.
  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for financial support through national funds FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC) to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020 and UIDP/00690/2020) and SusTEC (LA/P/0007/2020). Research carried out within the scope of “Observatório de Montesinho—Dionísio Gonçalves”.

publication date

  • February 2023

published in