Annals of Forest Science

, 75:92 | Cite as

Liming alters body size distribution in a community of epigeic spiders in birch forest (Betula pendula Roth)

  • Radek MichalkoEmail author
  • Emanuel Kula
  • Ondřej Košulič
Research Paper


Key message

Liming, an ameliorative method for acidified forest soils, affected the relative abundance of prey of ground-hunting spiders and consequently reduced densities of functionally similar species of these predators.


Liming, an ameliorative method for acidified forest soils, may modify the structure of an arthropod community by altering the soil characteristics and/or the availability of food resources.


We investigated the effect of liming on the community structure of ground-hunting spiders in a birch forest.


We established six experimental birch stand plots. Each stand was exposed to one of three experimental treatments: control, 1.5 t/ha, or 3 t/ha of dolomitic limestone. We collected spiders using pitfall traps during 5 years. We characterized the community in terms of activity density, species richness, community-weighted mean body size, and functional diversity and evenness in body size. We further investigated the potential links through which the liming might affect spiders, namely soil characteristics, effect of liming on birch, and densities of potential prey.


The commonly used dosage of 3 t/ha reduced densities of functionally similar species which led to the reduced functional evenness in body size and increased functional divergence in body size. Liming increased soil pH only slightly but decreased the densities of spiders’ preferred prey.


The liming affected the community of ground-hunting spiders, at least partially, through reduced densities of their preferred prey.


Acidification Functional diversity Predator Soil 



We would like to thank Stano Korenko, Lenka Sentenská, and Eva Líznarová for their help with the spider determination. We are grateful to Marco Isaia, the editors Aurélien Sallé and Erwin Dreyer, and the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on the previous version of the manuscript.


This study was financially supported by the Internal Grant Agency of Mendel University (Reg. No. LDF_VT_2016002/2016) and by Netex Ltd., Děčín, Nadace ČEZ Co. in Prague, and Lafarge Cement Co. in Čížkovice.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_769_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (XLSX 11 kb)
13595_2018_769_MOESM2_ESM.docx (922 kb)
Fig. S1 (DOCX 922 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radek Michalko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emanuel Kula
    • 2
  • Ondřej Košulič
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic

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