University of Oulu

Peña-Aguilera, P., Schmidt, N.M., Stewart, L., Parisy, B., van der Wal, R., Lindman, L. et al. (2023) Consistent imprints of elevation, soil temperature and moisture on plant and arthropod communities across two subarctic landscapes. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 16(5), 684–700. Available from:

Consistent imprints of elevation, soil temperature and moisture on plant and arthropod communities across two subarctic landscapes

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Author: Peña-Aguilera, Pablo1; Schmidt, Niels M.2; Stewart, Lærke3;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
2Department of Ecoscience and Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
3Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, University of South-Eastern Norway, Campus Bø, Norway
4Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
6Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter Penryn Campus, Penryn, UK
7Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-18


1. Factors shaping arthropod and plant community structure at fine spatial scales arepoorly understood. This includes microclimate, which likely plays a large role inshaping local community patterns, especially in heterogeneous landscapes charac-terised by high microclimatic variability in space and in time.

2. We explored differences in local microclimatic conditions and regional species poolsin two subarctic regions: Kilpisjärvi in north-west Finland and Varanger in north-eastNorway. We then investigated the relationship between fine-scale climatic variationand local community characteristics (species richness and abundance) among plantsand arthropods, differentiating the latter into two groups: flying andground-dwelling arthropods collected by Malaise and pitfall traps, respectively. Arthropod taxa were identified through DNA metabarcoding. Finally, we examined ifplant richness can be used to predict patterns in arthropod communities.

3. Variation in soil temperature, moisture and snow depth proved similar betweenregions, despite differences in absolute elevation. For each group of organisms, wefound that about half of the species were shared between Kilpisjärvi and Varanger,with a quarter unique to each region.

4. Plants and arthropods responded largely to the same drivers. The richness and abun-dance of both groups decreased as elevation increased and were positively correlatedwith higher soil moisture and temperature values. Plant species richness was a poorpredictor of local arthropod richness, in particular for ground-dwelling arthropods.

5. Our results reveal how microclimatic variation within each region carves pro-nounced, yet consistent patterns in local community richness and abundance out ofa joint species pool.

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Series: Insect conservation and diversity
ISSN: 1752-458X
ISSN-E: 1752-4598
ISSN-L: 1752-458X
Volume: 16
Issue: 5
Pages: 684 - 700
DOI: 10.1111/icad.12667
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: TR was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC-synergy grant 856506—LIFEPLAN). TR and PDLPA were further supported by a career support grant (to TR) from the Vice Chancellor of SLU, by a grant from the research council FORMAS (grant FR-2019/0007, to TR and RVDW) and by a grant from the Academy of Finland (grant 322266, to TR). We thank the Finnish Functional Genomics Centre supported by the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and Biocenter Finland.
Dataset Reference: The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in European Nucleotide Archive at, reference number PRJEB63601.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors.Insect Conservation and Diversitypublished by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialLicense, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.