Costa, R. & Borges, P.A.V. (2021) SLAM Project - Long term ecological study of the impacts of climate change in the natural forest of Azores: I - the spiders from native forests of Terceira and Pico Islands (2012-2019).Biodiversity Data Journal, 9, e69924. DOI:10.3897/BDJ.9.e69924 (IF2021 1,550; Q3 Biodiversity Conservation)
Long-term monitoring of invertebrate communities is needed to understand the impact of key biodiversity erosion drivers (e.g. habitat fragmentation and degradation, invasive species, pollution, climatic changes) on the biodiversity of these high diverse organisms.
The data we present are part of the long-term project SLAM (Long Term Ecological Study of the Impacts of Climate Change in the natural forest of Azores) that started in 2012, aiming to understand the impact of biodiversity erosion drivers on Azorean native forests (Azores, Macaronesia, Portugal). In this contribution, the design of the project, its objectives and the first available data for the spider fauna of two Islands (Pico and Terceira) are described.
Passive flight interception SLAM traps (Sea, Land and Air Malaise traps) were used to sample native forest plots in several Azorean islands, with one trap being set up at each plot and samples taken every three months following the seasons.
The key objectives of the SLAM project are: 1) collect long-term ecological data to evaluate species distributions and abundance at multiple spatial and temporal scales, responding to the Wallacean and Prestonian shortfalls, 2) identify biodiversity erosion drivers impacting oceanic indigenous assemblages under global change for conservation management purpose, 3) use species distribution and abundance data in model-based studies of environmental change in different islands, 4) contribute to clarifying the potential occurrence of an "insect decline" in Azores and identifying the spatial and temporal invasion patterns of exotic arthropod species, 5) contribute with temporal data to re-assess the Red-list status of Azorean endemic arthropods and 6) perform studies about the relationship between diversity (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic) and ecosystem function.
The project SLAM (Long Term Ecological Study of the Impacts of Climate Change in the natural forest of Azores) is described in detail.
Seasonal distribution and abundance data of Azorean spiders, based on a long-term study undertaken between 2012 and 2019 in two Azorean Islands (Terceira and Pico), is presented. A total of 14979 specimens were collected, of which 6430 (43%) were adults. Despite the uncertainty of juvenile identification, juveniles are also included in the data presented in this paper, since the low diversity allows a relatively precise identification of this life-stage in Azores.
A total of 57 species, belonging to 50 genera and 17 families, were recorded from the area, which constitutes baseline information of spiders from the studied sites for future long-term comparisons. Linyphiidae were the richest and most abundant family, with 19 (33%) species and 5973 (40%) specimens. The ten most abundant species are composed mostly of endemic or native non-endemic species and only one exotic species (Tenuiphantes tenuis (Blackwall, 1852)). Those ten most abundant species include 84% of all sampled specimens and are clearly the dominant species in the Azorean native forests. Textrix caudata L. Koch, 1872 was firstly reported from Terceira and Pico Islands, Araneus angulatus Clerck, 1757 was firstly reported from Terceira Island, Neriene clathrata (Sundevall, 1830) and Macaroeris diligens (Blackwall, 1867) were firstly reported from Pico Island.
This publication contributes not only to a better knowledge of the arachnofauna present in native forests of Terceira and Pico, but also to understand the patterns of abundance and diversity of spider species, both seasonally and between years.