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title: Altitudinal patterns of moth diversity in tropical and subtropical Australian rainforests
author: Ashton, LA (Ashton, L. A.);  Odell, EH (Odell, E. H.);  Burwell, CJ (Burwell, C. J.);  Maunsell, SC (Maunsell, S. C.);  Nakamura, A (Nakamura, A.);  Mcdonald, WJF (Mcdonald, W. J. F.);  Kitching, RL (Kitching, R. L.)
Issued Date: 2016
Abstract: Altitudinal gradients are an excellent study tool to help understand the mechanisms shaping community assembly. We established a series of altitudinal gradients along the east coast of Australia to describe how the distribution of a hyper-diverse herbivore group (night-flying Lepidoptera) changes across an environmental gradient in subtropical and tropical rainforests. Two transects were in subtropical rainforest in the same bioregion, one in south-east Queensland (28.7 degrees S) and one in north east New South Wales (29.7 degrees S). Two were in tropical rainforest, one in mid-east Queensland (21.1 degrees S) and one in the Wet Tropics of northern Queensland (17.5 degrees S). Replicate plots were established in altitudinal bands separated by 200m. Canopy and understorey moths were sampled at the beginning and end of the wet season using automatic Pennsylvania light traps. We sorted a total of 93400 individuals, belonging to 3035 species. The two subtropical transects in the same region showed similar patterns of turnover across altitude, with the most distinctive assemblage occurring at the highest altitude. Moth assemblages in the tropical transects tended to show distinct lowland' and upland' communities. For species that were common across several of the transects, many were found at lower altitudes in the subtropics and higher altitudes in the tropics, suggesting they are sensitive to environmental conditions, and track their physiological envelopes across latitudes. These results suggest ubiquitous altitudinal stratification in tropical and subtropical Australian rainforests. The marked response of species to latitude and altitude demonstrates they are sensitive to climatic variables and can be used as indicators to understand future community responses to climate change.
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Recommended Citation:
Ashton, LA ,Odell, EH ,Burwell, CJ ,et al. Altitudinal Patterns Of Moth Diversity In Tropical And Subtropical Australian Rainforests[J]. Austral Ecology,2016,41(2):197-208.

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