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Volume 16, issue 1
Web Ecol., 16, 63–65, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-16-63-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Ecology at the Interface

Web Ecol., 16, 63–65, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-16-63-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 17 Feb 2016

Standard article | 17 Feb 2016

Human population density and tenebrionid richness covary in Mediterranean islands

Simone Fattorini1,2 and Giovanni Strona3 Simone Fattorini and Giovanni Strona
  • 1CE3C – Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes/Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores – Departamento de Ciências Agrárias, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal
  • 2Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy
  • 3European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy

Abstract. Human population growth is expected to drive several species to local extinction. Yet, an unexpected high biodiversity can be found even in densely populated areas. Although a positive correlation between human density and biodiversity can be explained by the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, an alternative possible explanation may come from the tendency of human settlements to be located in sites whose environmental conditions are particularly favourable also for many other animal species. To investigate this hypothesis, we studied the relationships between human population density and species richness of native tenebrionid beetles in small Italian islands. We used partial regression analysis to assess the individual contribution of island area (to account for the species–area relationship), elevation (used as a proxy of environmental diversity), and human density to species richness. We found that tenebrionid diversity increased with human population density even after controlling for area and elevation. This may suggest that islands that were (and are) more hospitable to humans are also those which can be more favourable for tenebrionids.

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An unexpected high biodiversity can be found even in densely inhabited areas, possibly as a result of a tendency of human settlements to be located in sites particularly favourable also for other organisms. We studied the relationship between human density and tenebrionid beetle richness in Italian islands. Tenebrionid richness increased with human population density. This suggests that islands that are more hospitable to humans are also those that can be more favourable for tenebrionids.
An unexpected high biodiversity can be found even in densely inhabited areas, possibly as a...
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