Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 3

Is there a place for bioindication in the geographical sciences? A focus on two groups (Carabidae and Araneae)

Edyta Regulska

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 3, pp. 423-437 | Full text

This paper is a brief review of the current state of Carabidae and Araneae usefulness in indicator-based, geographical science studies. The database of scientific papers on the ISI Web of Science (Elsevier and Springer) was the main source of information. Only papers that considered landscape and addressed human activity in relation to selected taxa were chosen for further analyses. The articles with an explicit ecological character and which showed no potential possibilities for wider application in geographical research were not used. The selected papers were examined with respect to: the leading subject matter, area considered, applications,repetitiveness of the data collecting, and with respect to the aboveground and underground compartments. For clarity’s sake, areas of land cover, land use, and human management were divided into four categories. The categories were ordered from 1 to 4, according to increasingly human-induced pressure starting with (1) areas of a natural state, (2) proceeding to forests, (3) farm land, and (4) finally to urban/suburban. This non-exhaustive review confirms the very broad possibilities of applying selected taxa as indicators in geographical studies. Such an application refers to both the range of possibilities of the study location choice (forest, arable, suburban areas etc.), and the subject matter of the study. Faunistic indicators can supply geographical researchers with quantitative and qualitative data. The data then allow for an estimation of the ecological response, due to the variety of changes taking place in the ecosystem. Faunistic indicators areinvaluable tools for indirectly estimating subtle environmental changes. Such changes include those which are the result of a specific interaction between ecosystem components, which are difficult to measure using traditional methods. The impact of human activities can thus be assessed in a much more cost-effective way. A key methodological aspect is to choose the most accurate faunistic groups for the study as well as using standardised method of collecting. It is also important to consider the environmental parameters which havean impact on the selected bioindicators.

Keywords: bioindication, land use, habitat variables, Carabidae, Araneae

Edyta Regulska [], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland