Biodiversity Science ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (5): 440-447.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.09034

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Soil arthropod diversity following an ice storm in a montane evergreen broadleaved forest in Chebaling National Nature Reserve, China

Yuduan Ou1, 2, Zhiyao Su1, 2*, Zhenkui Li1, Fuchun Tong1, Zexin Liu1   

  1. 1 College of Forestry, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642
    2 Key Laboratory of Ecological Agriculture of Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China, Guangzhou 510642
  • Received:2009-02-12 Online:2009-09-20
  • Yuduan Ou

In 2008, an ice storm caused extensive damage to the montane evergreen broadleaved forest in Chebaling National Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province, China. To assess the response of soil arthropod diversity and distribution to a gradient of canopy openness following the ice storm, 17 plots, each 400 m2, were selected within a 2-ha permanent plot. Canopy openness was estimated with hemispherical photography in each plot. We sampled the litter layer and two soil layers (0–10 cm and 10–20 cm) to measure arthropod diversity and soil properties. We used two-way cluster analysis to group sites based on arthropod abundance in the litter layer. We also utilized canonical correspondence analysis to reveal relationships between soil arthropods in the 0–10 cm layer and four environmental variables, i.e., canopy openness (CO), soil organic matter (SOM), electric conductivity (EC), and natural moisture content (NMC). Results showed that abundance, richness and diversity of arthropod communities decreased with depth. A negative association was found between canopy openness and the number of arthropod groups in the litter layer; some arthropod taxa, such as the Oribatida, Prostigmata and Mesostigmata, were found in a wide range of light conditions, whereas the Hymenoptera, Symphyla, Pseudoscorpiones and Lepidoptera larvae may be photophobic. The distribution of arthropods in the 0–10 cm soil layer was closely related to CO, SOM, EC, and NMC on the first and second canonical axes. Hence, a series of changes in canopy structure and soil factors following the ice storm appeared to have affected the composition and distribution of soil arthropod communities. Findings from the present study also indicated that arthropod communities could serve as indicators to characterize the ecosystems they inhabit, thus being particularly suitable for monitoring forest regeneration and successional dynamics following ice storms.

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