Differences in functional trait responses to elevation among feeding guilds of Aculeata community

Kazushige Uemori, Toshiharu Mita, Takuo Hishi

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The response of communities to environmental change is expected to vary among feeding guilds. To evaluate the response of guilds to environmental factors without considering the taxonomic specificities, it is useful to examine Aculeata bees and wasps, which consist of closely related taxa including different guilds, pollinators, predators, and parasitoids. In this study, we evaluated changes in species diversity (SD) and functional traits of each feeding guild along an elevational gradient in a boreal forest in northern Japan. We used yellow pan traps to collect Aculeata bees and wasps at 200–1600 m above sea level. We investigated six functional traits (trophic level, seasonal duration, body size, elevational range, nesting position, and soil dependency) and the horizontal distribution of the species. The SD of all Aculeata, predators, and parasitoids decreased with an increase in elevation; however, the SD of pollinators did not show any specific trend. Although the functional trait composition of all Aculeata species did not show any trend, that of each feeding guild responded to elevation in different ways. Pollinators increased in body size and showed a decrease in seasonal duration with increasing elevation, suggesting that tolerance and seasonal escape from physical stress at high elevations are important for shaping pollinator communities. Predators increased their elevational range and the proportion of above-ground nesting species increased with increasing elevation, suggesting that the ability to live in a wider range of environments and avoid unsuitable soil environments at high elevations might be important. Parasitoids changed their hosts and displayed variable traits with increasing elevation, suggesting that brood parasitoids have difficulty in surviving at high elevation. The traits for each guild responded in different ways, even if they were dominated by the same environmental factors. Our findings imply that differences in the responses of functional traits would produce different community assembly patterns in different guilds during further climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9171
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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