• Habitat Structure, Quality and Landscape Predict Species Richness and Communities of Collembola in Dry Grasslands in Austria

    • Pascal Querner
      Department of Integrative Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Norbert Milasowszky
      Department of Integrative Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Klaus Zulka
      Department of Integrative Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Max Abensperg-Traun
      Department of Integrative Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Wolfgang Willner
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Norbert Sauberer
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Christine Jakomini
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Thomas Wrbka
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Ingrid Schmitzberger
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Harald Zechmeister
      Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
  • We assessed the relationships between site size, habitat quality, landscape factors (fragmentation, landscape diversity) and species richness in communities of Collembola in 50 small dry grassland habitat patches in an agricultural landscape of eastern Austria. Grasslands in that region were once widespread and extensive, but have become increasingly fragmented and isolated. We hypothesized that dry grassland springtails species richness is significantly correlated with site variables (soil properties, habitat quality) and that the size of grassland sites is positively correlated with species richness. We used pitfall traps in 50 dry grasslands in differently structured agricultural landscapes and tested total abundance and three species richness measures: (1) the number of dry grassland specialist species; (2) total number of dry grassland species and (3) overall species richness. In the multivariate correlation models, we found that all species richness measures were significantly related to the plant species richness, a shape parameter of the sites, soil properties such as humus, temperature, sand and gravel content and the landscape variable reflecting isolation (distance to the nearest large dry grassland area). This landscape variable indicates that neighbouring grasslands are influencing the species richness of the sites. This may be a result of passive wind dispersal across the landscape or historic connection of the small sites with much larger dry grasslands. The size of the site did not show any significant correlation with total, dry grassland specialist, dry grassland generalist or generalist species richness. The small size of Collembola might explain these findings, because they have high population densities even in small patches.

  • PDF

  • http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:1047937

  • Article

  • Published Version

  • Insects

  • 2018

  • 9

  • 3

  • MDPI AG

  • English

  • Open access

  • CC BY Attribution 4.0 International
    © 2018 by the authors

  • Austrian Landscape Research – Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung (BMWF)

  • 2075-4450

  • dry grassland patches; fragmentation; soil mesofauna; dispersal; patch size