On the distribution of terrestrial invertebrates at Cape Bird, Ross Island, Antarctica
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Terrestrial invertebrate distribution was surveyed over 12 km2 of the ice-free area at Cape Bird, Ross Island, Antarctica. Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni (Collembola: Hypogastruridae), Stereotydeus mollis and Nanorchestes antarcticus (Acari: Prostigmata), Panagrolaimus davidi, Plectus sp. and Scottnema lindsayae (Nematoda), Tardigrada, Rotifera and Protozoa were all recorded. Invertebrates were found at 47 of 103 locations sampled. Logistic regression analysis suggested that the presence of mites and Collembola was strongly related to chlorophyll-a content of soil; but only Stereotydeus mollis and N. antarcticus were related to the presence of macroscopic vegetation, suggesting that current methods of assessing areas for protection may not adequately allow for invertebrate communities. Invertebrate communities were not dependent on ornithogenic carbon input. A better understanding of dispersal mechanisms is necessary to understand distributions of invertebrates in ice-free areas, particularly in light of potential habitat changes as a result of climate change.
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