Multivariate ordination identifies vegetation types associated with spider conservation in brassica crops

Hafiz Sohaib Ahmed Saqib, Minsheng You, Geoff M. Gurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Conservation biological control emphasizes natural and other non-crop vegetation as a source of natural enemies to focal crops. There is an unmet need for better methods to identify the types of vegetation that are optimal to support specific natural enemies that may colonize the crops. Here we explore the commonality of the spider assemblage-considering abundance and diversity (H)-in brassica crops with that of adjacent non-crop and non-brassica crop vegetation. We employ spatial-based multivariate ordination approaches, hierarchical clustering and spatial eigenvector analysis. The small-scale mixed cropping and high disturbance frequency of southern Chinese vegetation farming offered a setting to test the role of alternate vegetation for spider conservation. Our findings indicate that spider families differ markedly in occurrence with respect to vegetation type. Grassy field margins, non-crop vegetation, taro and sweetpotato harbour spider morphospecies and functional groups that are also present in brassica crops. In contrast, pumpkin and litchi contain spiders not found in brassicas, and so may have little benefit for conservation biological control services for brassicas. Our findings also illustrate the utility of advanced statistical approaches for identifying spatial relationships between natural enemies and the land uses most likely to offer alternative habitats for conservation biological control efforts that generates testable hypotheses for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3795
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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