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Research article2005Peer reviewed

Responses of oribatid mite communities to summer drought: The influence of litter type and quality

Taylor, Astrid; Wolters, Volkmar


A litterbag experiment was used to study the impact of extended periods of summer drought on the structure of oribatid mite communities (Acari, Oribatida) developing in two litter types (beech, spruce) of two qualities (fresh, pre-incubated). Within each litter type, litter quality determined species composition and densities and, in turn, this determined the impact of drought upon the oribatid mite communities. In both litter types, drought had a greater impact on community development in the pre-incubated compared to the fresh litter. In the short-term perspective of the present study, oribatid mite communities in beech litter were less sensitive to summer drought than those in spruce litter. This was partly due to the presence of site-specific, drought-tolerant species but seemed also strongly related to differences in the decomposition patterns between the litter types. Marked changes in densities and composition of oribatid communities after only one period of summer-drought suggest that there is a potential for a significant alteration of oribatid community structure in both litter types if climatic changes persist. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


oribatid mite communities; climate change; drought; spruce litter; beech litter; decomposition; litterbag

Published in

Soil Biology and Biochemistry
2005, Volume: 37, number: 11, pages: 2117-2130

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

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