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Mites (Acari, Mesostigmata) in boreal Scots pine forest floors: effect of distance to stumps

Kamczyc, Jacek, Gwiazdowicz, Dariusz J., Teodorowicz, Ewa, Strzymińska, Katarzyna
Experimental & applied acarology 2014 v.64 no.1 pp. 61-71
Pinus sylvestris, Veigaia, boreal forests, coarse woody debris, coniferous forests, fauna, forest ecosystems, forest litter, microhabitats, mites, snails, stumps, trees
Coarse woody debris (CWD) is a basic component of forest ecosystems and it plays a crucial role in species-poor boreal forests. Generally, previous studies have focused on differences between the forest floor and decaying logs of various tree species. The impact of distance to CWD has been investigated mainly for forest-floor snails and some groups of macrofauna, but not yet for mesostigmatid mites communities. We hypothesized that the effect of CWD decreases with increasing distance from CWD. To test this hypothesis we conducted a study in relatively species-poor Finnish boreal forest (at ca. 100 km northwest of Helsinki). In total, 81 samples were collected in 2007 from nine Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) stumps, three microhabitats (CWD, soil/litter at 0.5 m from a stump and soil/litter at 1.5 m from a stump) and in three main directions (9 stumps × 3 microhabitats × 3 directions). Overall, 1965 mesostigmatid mites were collected representing 24 species. The mean number of mite species collected was significantly different between decaying stumps and forest litter; however, there was no significant difference between the litter samples at 0.5 and 1.5 m distance. The evenness index was significantly lower for samples collected from stumps than for litter in close (0.5 m) or far (1.5 m) distance. The most frequently encountered mite species were Veigaia nemorensis, Parazercon radiatus and Zercon zelawaiensis.