Biodiversity of Collembola and their functional role in the ecosystem
More than 6500 species of Collembola are known from throughout the world and these are only a small part of the still undescribed species. There are many checklists and catalogues of Collembola for smaller territories and entire continents. Biogeographical analyses have been made for some genera and smaller territories. The most serious problems for a global biogeographical analysis is the lack of enough records from immense territories of all continents. Local biodiversity of Collembola can be very high, reaching over 100 species in small mountain ranges. Sampling methods do not impede documenting biodiversity on a global scale. Collembola have well differentiated ecomorphological life-forms and feeding guilds which enable the functional role that Collembola play in ecosystems to be recognised in some degree. Collembola play an important role in plant litter decomposition processes and in forming soil microstructure. They are hosts of many parasitic Protozoa, Nematoda, Trematoda and pathogenic bacteria and in turn are attacked by different predators. They utilise as food Protozoa, Nematoda, Rotatoria, Enchytraeidae, invertebrate carrion, bacteria, fungi, algae, plant litter, live plant tissues, and some plant pathogens. Soil acidification, nitrogen supply, global climate change and intensive farming have greatly impacted collembolan diversity.
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