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Research article2010Peer reviewed

The influence of vegetation type, soil properties and precipitation on the composition of soil mite and microbial communities at the landscape scale

Nielsen, Uffe N.; Osler, Graham H. R.; Campbell, Colin; Burslem, David F. R.; van der Wal, Rene


The influence of vegetation type and soil properties differed between groups of soil organisms, albeit in a predictable manner, across the 12 sites. Organisms directly associated with plants (fungi), and organisms with microhabitat and resource preferences (Oribatida) were strongly responsive to changes in habitat type. The response of organisms not directly associated with plants (bacteria, archaea) depended on differences in soil properties, while organisms with less clear microhabitat and resource preferences (Mesostigmata) were not strongly responsive to either vegetation type or soil properties. These results show that it is possible to predict the impact of habitat change on specific soil organisms depending on their ecology. Moreover, the community composition of all groups was related to variation in precipitation within the study area, which shows that external factors, such as those caused by climate change, can have a direct effect on belowground communities.


Archaea; bacteria; Betula pubescens; birch woodland; community composition; fungi; heather moorland; Mesostigmata; Oribatida; Scotland

Published in

Journal of Biogeography
2010, Volume: 37, number: 7, pages: 1317-1328

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)