D03 Dung beetle community structure in cloud forests


M04 D03 Overview

M04 D03 Overview
WRL reference M04 D03
Module M04 Ecosystems – Tropical Rainforests
Data Set D03 The effect of altitude on dung beetle community structure
Research objectives 1. How do you identify the different species of dung beetle

2. What is the effect of altitude on dung beetle community structure?

3. What other environmental and habitat variables might affect dung beetles?

Keywords Biological indicators; biodiversity; Climate change; case studies; Data handling; Deforestation; Ecosystems;
Environmental monitoring; Field techniques; Human impact; Dichotomous keys: Rainforest; Sampling; Taxonomy; Transects;
Potential Curriculum links AP Biology 4.C.4,
AP Env Sci II Living systems A-E
IB Biology 5.3, C.1, C.4
IB Ess 2.3.1, 5.2.3
AQA 3.4.5, 3.4.6, 3.4.7, 3.7.4, MS, AT, PS
edexcel A – 4.3, 4.6, B – 3.1, 10.1, Maths A
OCR A –  4.2.1, 4.2.2, 6.3.1, 6.3.2 – M, PAG, HSW
SQA HOAL 1(b) (c) (d) (e)
CCEA 2.3.4, 2.3.5, 2.3.6
WJEC C1-5, C2 -1, App B, Pract.req.
Summary Dung beetles are important organisms in rainforest habitat maintenance and they can also be used as sensitive biological indicators of disturbance and biodiversity change. In 2013 there was an extensive survey of dung beetle communities in the Cloud Rainforest of Cusuco National Park in Honduras. 123 sites were sampled for dung beetles using baited pitfall traps: 14363 beetles were captured, identified and their distribution and number related to a large number of variables, in particular elevation/altitude (Abundance and species richness). This data set looks at how you identify dung beetles using a dichotomous key, investigates the relationship between dung beetles and altitude and then a wider consideration of numerous other factors which might affect their community structure.
Research objectives 1 (keys) – Difficulty 6/10
Research objective 2 – Difficulty 7/10
Research Objective 3 – Difficulty 8/10