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Belowground biodiversity in a Mediterranean landscape: relationships between saprophagous macroarthropod communities and vegetation structure



Belowground biodiversity in a Mediterranean landscape: relationships between saprophagous macroarthropod communities and vegetation structure



Biodiversity and Conservation. June; 86: 753-767



Millipedes and woodlice were sampled at 27 sites in a mosaic landscape in order to establish the extent to which the macroarthropod community changed with different plant formations. Multivariate analyses conducted on abundance data for ten species revealed four main types of macroarthropod communities. This classification was highly correlated with vegetation structure and particularly the degree of openness of the sites. Communities dominated by Ommatoiulus rutilans (Julidae) occurred in open grassland; those dominated by Glomeris marginata (Glomeridae) plus Porcellio gallicus (Porcellionidae) were found at the least open sites, with a high oak cover; communities with a high proportion of the endemic glomerid Glomeris annulata occurred in semi-open sites with a substantial cover of shrubs. Species diversity was significantly higher at the semi-open sites, this being interpreted as an edge effect. Population density and biomass were lower at wooded sites. In the context of a regional trend towards woodland expansion, the results are discussed from the viewpoint of conserving the pool of millipede and woodlouse species and of maintaining the abundance of saprophagous macroarthropods in the region's ecosystems.

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Accession: 003658355

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1023/a:1008842313832



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