Advertisement

Hydrobiologia

, Volume 558, Issue 1, pp 133–139 | Cite as

Small-scale Spatial Distribution Variability in Terrestrial Tardigrade Populations

  • Harry A. Meyer
Article

Abstract

Terrestrial tardigrades are often found in the lichens and mosses growing on trees and rocks. The assertion that tardigrades in these habitats are very patchy in their distribution has rarely been backed by quantitative sampling. This study assesses spatial variability in tardigrade populations inhabiting small patches (0.1 cm2 to over 5 cm2) of moss and lichen on trees and rocks at three sites in the United States of America. Tardigrades were collected from four replicate rocks in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, with 30 lichen patches collected on two adjacent boulders and 20 moss patches on a second pair of boulders. In Fort Myers and in Citrus Springs, Florida, 30 lichen patches per tree were collected from two pairs of trees. The tardigrades in each sample were extracted, mounted, identified, and counted. The variation in tardigrade abundance among lichen or moss patches within rocks or trees was very high; the only consistent pattern was that very small patches usually lacked tardigrades. Tardigrade diversity and abundance also varied greatly within sites when lichens and mosses of the same species from different rocks and trees were compared (in the most extreme case one tree had numerous individuals of two tardigrade species present while the other had almost no tardigrades). The results of this quantitative sampling support the assertion that tardigrades are very patchy in distribution. Given the considerable time investment required for the quantitative processing of tardigrade samples, this high spatial variability in tardigrade diversity and abundance requires that researches testing ecological hypotheses about tardigrade abundance check variability before deciding how many samples to take.

Keywords

patchiness sample size 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Breen, R. S. 1963Mosses of Florida: An Illustrated ManualUniversity of Florida PressGainesville273Google Scholar
  2. Brodo, I. M., Sharnoff, S. D., Sharnoff, S. 2001Lichens of North AmericaYale University PressNew Haven and London793 ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  3. Christenberry, D. 1979On the distribution of Echiniscus kofordi and E. cavagnaroi (Tardigrada)Transactions of the American Microscopical Society98469471Google Scholar
  4. Conard, H. S. 1956How to Know the Mosses and Liverworts. Revised EditionWm. C. Brown Company PublishersDubuque, Iowa226Google Scholar
  5. Hale, M. E. 1969How to Know the LichensWm. C. Brown Company PublishersDubuque, Iowa226Google Scholar
  6. Hanski, I. 1991Single-species metapopulation dynamics: concepts, models and observationsBiological Journal of the Linnean Society421738Google Scholar
  7. Hohl, A. M., Miller, W. P., Nelson, D. R. 2001The distribution of tardigrades upwind and downwind of a Missouri coal-burning plantZoologischer Anzeiger240395401Google Scholar
  8. MacArthur, R. H., Wilson, E. O. 1967The Theory of Island BiogeographyPrinceton University PressPrinceton, NJ203Google Scholar
  9. Meyer, H. A. 2001Tardigrades of Louisiana and Arkansas, United States of AmericaZoologischer Anzeiger240471474Google Scholar
  10. Nelson, D. R. 2002Current status of the Tardigrada: evolution and ecologyIntegrative and Comparative Biology42652659Google Scholar
  11. Nelson, D. R., McInnes, S. J. 2002TardigradaRundle, S. D.,Robertson, A. L.Schmid-Araya, J. M. eds. Freshwater Meiofauna: Biology and EcologyBackhuys PublishersLeiden177215Google Scholar
  12. Ramazzotti, G., Maucci, W. 1983I1 Philum TardigradaMemorie dell’Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia4111011Google Scholar
  13. Reese, W. D. 1983Mosses of the Gulf South: From the Rio Grande to the AplachicolaLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge252Google Scholar
  14. Sokal, R. R., Rohlf, F. J. 1981Biometry: The Principles and Practice of Statistics in Biological Research2W. H. Freeman & CompanyNew York859Google Scholar
  15. Wright, J. C. 1991The significance of four xeric parameters in the ecology of terrestrial TardigradaJournal of Zoology, London2245977CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesMcNeese State UniversityLake CharlesUSA

Personalised recommendations