Changes in ground-dwelling arthropod diversity related to the proximity of shrub cover in a desertified system

Rentao Liu, Fan Zhu, Yosef Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Shrub patchiness generates spatial heterogeneity across a range of scales. Little is known about shrub-patch effects on ground-dwelling arthropod diversity on small spatial scales. Using pitfall trapping, ground-dwelling arthropods were collected at three microsites (beneath and on the shrub-canopy periphery, and in open spaces) during spring, summer, and autumn, in a desertified steppe ecosystem of northwestern China. Along with distance from shrub cover, the abundance of dominant groups, including Carabidae, Tenebrionidae, and Glaphyridae families, tended to decrease and was remarkably affected by seasonality, in contrast to the abundance distribution pattern of the dominant Melolonthidae, Curculionidae, and Formicidae families. The distribution pattern of total abundance, group richness, and Fisher's α index among the microsites was also found to be affected by seasonality. Together, the abundance distribution of different dominant taxa was found to indicate distinctive responses to the microsite and seasonal variability. The distribution pattern of the ground-dwelling arthropod community among the microsites could change along with seasonality, though high diversity was found to be maintained beneath the shrub cover. This study elucidated the importance of plant-cover functions as 'keystone structures', providing heterogeneous microsite - soil arthropod relationships that altered in time and space in xeric environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume124
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Funding

We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41101050 to RL), the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (No. 20126401110003 to RL), and the CSC/BU Joint Scholarships of The KORT 25 Postdoc Program. Special thanks to Ms. Sharon Victor for her comments and for preparing the manuscript for publication.

FundersFunder number
CSC/BU
National Natural Science Foundation of China41101050
Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China20126401110003

    Keywords

    • Community diversity
    • Desertified steppe
    • Ground-dwelling arthropod
    • Shrub microhabitat

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