Relative importance of local habitat complexity and regional factors for assemblages of oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) in Sphagnum peat bogs
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- Minor, M.A., Ermilov, S.G., Philippov, D.A. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2016) 70: 275. doi:10.1007/s10493-016-0075-9
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We investigated communities of oribatid mites in five peat bogs in the north-west of the East European plain. We aimed to determine the extent to which geographic factors (latitude, separation distance), local environment (Sphagnum moss species, ground water level, biogeochemistry) and local habitat complexity (diversity of vascular plants and bryophytes in the surrounding plant community) influence diversity and community composition of Oribatida. There was a significant north-to-south increase in Oribatida abundance. In the variance partitioning, spatial factors explained 33.1 % of variability in abundance across samples; none of the environmental factors were significant. Across all bogs, Oribatida species richness and community composition were similar in Sphagnum rubellum and Sphagnum magellanicum, but significantly different and less diverse in Sphagnum cuspidatum. Sphagnum microhabitat explained 52.2 % of variability in Oribatida species richness, whereas spatial variables explained only 8.7 %. There was no distance decay in community similarity between bogs with increased geographical distance. The environmental variables explained 34.9 % of the variance in community structure, with vascular plants diversity, bryophytes diversity, and ground water level all contributing significantly; spatial variables explained 15.1 % of the total variance. Overall, only 50 % of the Oribatida community variance was explained by the spatial structure and environmental variables. We discuss relative importance of spatial and local environmental factors, and make general inferences about the formation of fauna in Sphagnum bogs.