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Climate and land-use effects on dung beetle assemblages

Cite this dataset

Englmeier, Jana et al. (2022). Climate and land-use effects on dung beetle assemblages [Dataset]. Dryad.


This dataset contains data from a field study conducted in 2019 and described in the paper "Dung beetle diversity is mainly affected by land use, while community specialization is driven by climate" by Englmeier et al.

To test the effects of land use and climate on α-diversity, local community specialization (H2'), and γ-diversity of dung beetles, we used pitfall traps baited with four different dung types at 114 study sites, distributed over a spatial extent of 300 km x 300 km and 1000 m in elevation. Study sites were established in four local land-use types: forests, grasslands, arable sites, and settlements, embedded in near-natural, agricultural, or urban landscapes.

We used negative-binomial generalized linear models for alpha-diversity, calculated community specialization on dung resources by using the standardized two-dimensional Shannon entropy (H2'), and assessed γ-diversity by Hill-numbers.

Our results show that intensive land use i.e., agriculture and urban areas, strongly reduced dung beetle α- and γ-diversity, respectively. Dung beetle abundance and species density were strongly affected by agricultural land use on both spatial scales, whereas γ-diversity on a local scale was mainly affected by settlements and on a landscape scale equally by agricultural and urban land use. Increasing precipitation diminished dung beetle abundance, and higher temperatures reduced community specialization and γ-diversity. These results indicate that intensive land use and higher temperatures may cause a loss in dung beetle diversity and alter community networks of dung beetle assemblages. A decrease in dung beetle diversity may disturb decomposition processes at both local and regional scales and alter ecosystem functioning, which leads to drastic ecological and economic damage.


Pitfall traps; Statistics were conducted in R.

Usage notes

Data can be opened by R and Excel.


Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art