Polar Biology

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 466–473

Fine scale variation in microarthropod communities inhabiting the keystone species Azorella selago on Marion Island

  • E. A. Hugo
  • M. A. McGeoch
  • D. J. Marshall
  • S. L. Chown
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-004-0614-4

Cite this article as:
Hugo, E.A., McGeoch, M.A., Marshall, D.J. et al. Polar Biol (2004) 27: 466. doi:10.1007/s00300-004-0614-4

Abstract

Invertebrates contribute significantly to nutrient cycling on sub-Antarctic islands and thus their distribution patterns are of considerable interest. Few studies have, however, investigated the deterministic nature of fine-scale patterns in arthropod communities. This study investigated the relationship between the fine-scale distribution and abundance of mites (Acari: Arachnida) and springtails (Collembola: Hexapoda) in Azorella selago Hook. f. (Apiaceae) on Marion Island, and plant size, isolation, within-plant variability and epiphyte load. Microarthropod abundances were significantly higher on the southern, cold, dry, less frequently wind-blown sides of plants. Abundances were also significantly higher in association with the dominant epiphyte, a likely consequence of increased resource availability. No effects of cushion size or isolation on abundance or species richness were found. This study thus demonstrates that fine-scale variation in the microarthropod community is deterministic, a likely consequence of biotic and abiotic factors, and therefore of importance in the context of rapid climate change.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. Hugo
    • 1
  • M. A. McGeoch
    • 1
  • D. J. Marshall
    • 2
  • S. L. Chown
    • 3
  1. 1.Spatial, Physiological and Conservation Ecology Group, Department of Conservation EcologyUniversity of StellenboschMatielandSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversiti Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam
  3. 3.Spatial, Physiological and Conservation Ecology Group, Department of ZoologyUniversity of StellenboschMatielandSouth Africa