Biodiversity of insects in arid and semiarid biomes of Namibia and South Africa


The overarching objective of the project is to monitor species diversity, to analyse the impact of climate- and land use change on functional group composition, with the goal to sensitively control the maintenance of sustainable land use, and to elaborate field guides to make monitoring feasible for non-scientists.

The specific aims will be investigated in three closely interlinked tasks. Objectives and key questions are explained in more detail for each task, as follows.



Task 1: Monitoring of selected arthropod groups: is divided according to different focal taxa.

Key questions of task 1.1 (Butterflies and true bugs (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera, Heteroptera)) are:

How many sampling campaigns per year are necessary in order to register the local butterfly community completely?

What is the crucial period of time when the majority of species are on the wing and might be encountered?

Is the monitoring system designed for Namibia and RSA equally applicable to conditions in West Africa, and what are the necessary adaptive corrections of the system?



Task 2: Land use contrasts and corresponding diversity and functional changes in selected arthropod communities:

Key questions of task 2 (Phytophageous insects: Moths and butterflies, true bugs and sawflies (Lepidoptera, Heteroptera, Symphyta)) are:

What are the differences and similarities of insect diversity along the natural climatic gradients and between different land use systems covered by the observatory transects?

What are the parameters that influence the observed diversity pattern in the first place (= key factors)?

What might be the short and long term effects of an altered insect diversity pattern to the ecosystem in the different biomes?



Task 3: Elaboration of field guides : is separated into different sub-tasks, according to single guides dealing with:

3.1 Butterflies and larger moths (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Heterocera)

3.2 Smaller moths (Microlepidoptera)

3.3 True bugs (Heteroptera)

3.4 Sawflies (Symphyta).


Principal Investigators
Mey, Wolfram Dr. (Details) (Entomology)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2007
End date: 12/2009

Last updated on 2020-09-03 at 17:04