Saproxylic beetles on ‘African’ vs. ‘European’ slopes in the Evolution Canyon, Israel

 

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The “Evolution Canyon” is a valley that runs in an east-west direction in Mt. Carmel, Israel with two opposing slopes. Due to differences in geographic orientation, the south-facing slope is significantly more insolated and warmer, less humid and with larger day/night microclimate differences than the north-facing slope. Saproxylic beetles were sampled with flight-interception traps in 2009 on both slopes and in different heights. Traps were placed on Ceratonia siliqua trees, which occurred on both slopes. We are interested in differences in species composition and species richness as a consequence of the different microclimate and thus different vegetation structure on the opposing slopes. Results from the project may help to understand processes in the context of climate change, where higher temperature and decreasing rainfall are expected to impact ecosystems in the Near East. At the moment beetle samples are under investigation. The study is part of a long-term biodiversity evolution project of the Institute of Evolution (University of Haifa) aimed at revealing the underlying evolutionary driving forces causing microsite divergence in biomes, species and populations. We cooperate with Dr. Tomas Pavlicek (University of Haifa).