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Desiccation resistance determines distribution of woodlice along forest edge-to-interior gradients
- De Smedt, Pallieter, Baeten, Lander, Berg, Matty P., Gallet-Moron, Emilie, Brunet, Jörg, Cousins, Sara A.O., Decocq, Guillaume, Diekmann, Martin, Giffard, Brice, De Frenne, Pieter, Hermy, Martin, Bonte, Dries, Verheyen, Kris
- European journal of soil biology 2018 v.85 pp. 1-3
- Isopoda, biogeochemical cycles, community structure, detritivores, drought tolerance, ecosystems, edge effects, environmental factors, forests, humidity, species diversity, Europe
- Forest edges show strong abiotic and biotic gradients potentially altering community composition and ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling. While abiotic gradients are well studied, short-scale biotic gradients, like detritivore species composition and their associated trait distribution remains a poorly explored research-field. We sampled woodlice in 160 forest patches across Europe at varying distances from the forest edge and discovered that species desiccation resistance determines distribution along forest edge-to-interior gradients. Forest edges are warmer and dryer compared to interiors and favour drought-tolerant species, while abundance and activity of drought-sensitive species is reduced at the edge. Key ecological factors for litter-dwelling detritivores (i.e. humidity) act as environmental filter, because of species-specific differences in desiccation resistance. Future research should focus on quantifying the consequences of a changing detritivore community and their associated functional traits for nutrient cycling.