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Multiscale analysis of canopy arthropod diversity in a volcanically fragmented landscape

Cite this dataset

Tielens, Elske K. et al. (2020). Multiscale analysis of canopy arthropod diversity in a volcanically fragmented landscape [Dataset]. Dryad.


Dataset and code associated with the article "Multiscale analysis of canopy arthropod diversity in a volcanically fragmented landscape" (Tielens et al 2019, Ecosphere).

Article abstract:

Habitat fragmentation resulting in habitat loss and increased isolation is a dominant driver of global species declines. Habitat isolation and connectivity vary across scales, and understanding how con- nectivity affects biodiversity can be challenging because the relevant scale depends on the taxa involved. A multiscale analysis can provide insight in biodiversity patterns across spatial scale when information on dispersal ability is not available, in particular for community-level studies focusing on multiple taxa. In this study, we examine the relationship between arthropod diversity, patch area, and connectivity using a mul- tiscale approach. We make use of a natural experiment on Hawai‘i Island, where historic volcanic activity has transformed contiguous native forests to lava matrix and discrete forest patches. This landscape of patches has persisted for 150 yr, and we selected 10,000 ha consisting of 863 patches to analyze landscape connectivity using a graph theory approach. We collected arthropod samples from Metrosideros polymor- pha tree canopies in 34 forest patches during multiple years. We analyzed the relationship of arthropod diversity with area, as well as with connectivity across increasing scales, or dispersal threshold distances. In contrast to well-established ecological theory as well as prior work on birds and fungi in this system, we did not find support for a canonical species–area relationship. Next, we calculated connectivity across spa- tial scales and found lower Shannon diversity with higher connectivity at small scales, but no effect at increased dispersal threshold distances. We examined the landscape structure and found all habitat patches connected into three subnetworks at a 350 m threshold distance. All patches were connected at 700 m threshold distance, indicating structural dispersal limitation only at small scales. Our findings sug- gest that canopy arthropods are not dispersal limited at scales shown to impact both soil fungi and birds in this system. Instead, Hawaiian canopy arthropods may perceive the landscape as a connected area where discrete forest patches and the early-successional matrix contribute resources that vary spatially with regard to habitat quality. We argue for the utility of multiscale approaches, and the importance of examin- ing maintenance of biodiversity in fragmented landscapes that persist for hundreds of years.


This dataset consists of arthropods that were sampled from Metrosideros polymorpha outer canopy in native mesic forests on Hawai'i Island, during 2009 and 2010. See article for sampling details.

The study landscape was located on the northeast flank of Mauna Loa in the Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve on Hawai‘i Island (19°38–41′ N, 155°20–23′ W).

We also include a dataset of connectivity metrics for the forest patches (kipuka). We quantified connectivity using habitat availability (reachability) metrics based on the integral index of connectivity (IIC; Pascual‐Hortal and Saura 2006, Saura and Rubio 2010). See article for further details.


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB–1020007

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1240774