Ground-active arthropod responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats in a desertified steppe ecosystem, China

Rentao Liu, Fan Zhu, Yosef Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Different microhabitats along dune slope were found to affect the distribution of plant performances and soil properties in desertified ecosystems. However, the ground-active arthropod responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats were largely unknown in desertified regions. At dune top, midslope and bottom, ground-active arthropods were sampled by the method of pitfall traps in addition to the herbaceous and soil measurements during spring, summer and autumn from 2012 to 2013. Ground-active arthropod had a strong dynamics in time, seasonally and yearly in responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats and the variations were significant higher than those of soil and herbaceous properties. The abundance distribution of dominant taxa (i.e. Melolonthidae, Carabidae, Glaphyridae, Tenebrionidae and Formicidae families) among dune microhabitats was similar between seasons within the same year, whereas they differed markedly between two sampling years with varying rainfall patterns. A significant (P<0.05) difference in total abundance, taxa richness and Shannon index among dune microhabitats was found only in certain season time, particularly in 2013; however, no significant (P>0.05) differences were found among dune microhabitats when averaged on three sampling seasons within the year of either 2012 or 2013. In all, the taxonomical structure differed considerably from the community structure in ground-active arthropod response to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats. The spatial distribution of taxonomical groups among dune microhabitats was significantly affected by inter-annual rainfall changes, whereas that of community structure was affected by both intra- and inter-annual rainfall changes in desertified ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-646
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Arid Land
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer - Verlag GmbH.


  • desertified region
  • dune microhabitat
  • ground-active arthropod
  • rainfall change
  • spatial distribution


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