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Soil fauna communities and microbial respiration in high Arctic tundra soils at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland

Abstract

The soil fauna communities were described for three dominant vegetation types in a high arctic site at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. Soil samples were extracted to quantify the densities of mites, collembolans, enchytraeids, diptera larvae, nematodes and protozoa. Rates of microbial respiration were also assessed. Collembolans were found in highest densities in dry heath soil, about 130,000 individuals m−2, more than twice as high as in mesic heath soils. Enchytraeids, diptera larvae and nematodes were also more abundant in the dry heath soil than in mesic heath soils, whereas protozoan densities (naked amoeba and heterotrophic flagellates) were equal. Respiration rate of unamended soil was similar in soil from the three plots. However, a higher respiration rate increase in carbon + nutrient amended soil and the higher densities of soil fauna (with the exception of mites and protozoa) in dry heath compared to the mesic heath soils indicated a higher decomposition rate here.

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Acknowledgements

The Danish Polar Center is acknowledged for providing logistics at the research station at Zackenberg. We thank Zdenek Gavor for technical assistance in sampling and extraction of microarthropods. Arne Fjellberg and Lars Lundquist are thanked for taxonomic assistance. Annette Spangenberg performed the enumerations of protozoa and nematodes and conducted the respiration assays. Finally, we thank Hans Meltofte and three anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism of an earlier version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Martin Holmstrup.

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Sørensen, L.I., Holmstrup, M., Maraldo, K. et al. Soil fauna communities and microbial respiration in high Arctic tundra soils at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. Polar Biol 29, 189–195 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-005-0038-9

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Keywords

  • Soil Fauna
  • Soil Animal
  • Soil Invertebrate
  • Heterotrophic Flagellate
  • Microarthropod Community