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Hansen RR, Hansen OLP, Bowden JJ, Treier UA, Normand S, Høye T. (2016) Meter scale variation in shrub dominance and soil moisture structure Arctic arthropod communities. PeerJ Preprints4:e2129v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2129v1
The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. This impacts Arctic species both directly, through increased temperatures, and indirectly, through structural changes in their habitats. Species are expected to exhibit idiosyncratic responses to structural change, which calls for detailed investigations at the species and community level. Here, we investigate how arthropod assemblages of spiders and beetles respond to variation in habitat structure at small spatial scales. We sampled transitions in shrub dominance and soil moisture between three different habitats (fen, dwarf shrub heath, and tall shrub tundra) at three different sites along a fjord gradient in southwest Greenland, using yellow pitfall cups. We identified 2547 individuals belonging to 47 species. We used species richness estimation, indicator species analysis and latent variable modeling to examine differences in arthropod community structure in response to habitat variation at local (within site) and regional scales (between sites). We estimated species responses to the environment by fitting species-specific generalized linear models with environmental covariates. Species assemblages were segregated at the habitat and site level. Each habitat hosted significant indicator species, and species richness and diversity were significantly lower in fen habitats. Assemblage patterns were significantly linked to changes in soil moisture and vegetation height, as well as geographic location. We show that meter-scale variation among habitats affects arthropod community structure, supporting the notion that the Arctic tundra is a heterogenous environment. To gain sufficient insight into temporal biodiversity change, we require studies of species distributions detailing species habitat preferences.
This is a submission to PeerJ for review.
Supplemental figure 1
Plot of the best fitted latent variable model for plant species showing the mean of the latent variable in two dimensions with a negative binomial distribution. The different colours indicate different habitat types
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