Diversity and abundance of soil arthropods in urban and suburban holm oak stands

E. Rota, T. Caruso, M. Migliorini, F. Monaci, V. Agamennone, G. Biagini, R. Bargagli

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    We investigated the soil arthropod communities of urban and suburban holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) stands in a small (Siena) and a large Italian city (Naples) and tested whether the abundance and diversity of higher arthropod taxa are affected by the biotic and abiotic conditions of urban forest soils, including pollution. Acarina and Collembola were the dominant taxa in both cities. In Siena the total number of arthropod individuals collected in the samples was over 1/3 greater than in Naples, but all diversity indices scored higher in Naples than in Siena, probably in response to the higher heterogeneity of microclimatic and pedological conditions found in Naples study area. Oribatids resulted twice more abundant in Siena and so were the total mites with respect to Collembola. While “taxonomic richness” per site increased with distance from road traffic, entropy and evenness indices scored higher at the two ends of the impact gradient in both cities. The overall variation in basic pedological and microbiological soil parameters positively correlated with the total abundance of arthropods, and negatively correlated with their taxonomic richness. At the resolution employed, no significant relation emerged between anthropogenic factors, such as traffic load and soil pollution, and the arthropod fauna density and variety. These results are consistent with conclusions drawn from a previous study on the enchytraeid fauna examined at species level, which is remarkable considering the different taxonomic resolutions of the two studies. CCA results suggest that the higher abundance of Oribatid mites, Protura and Thysanura and the lower abundance of Diplopoda and Symphyla in Siena could depend on a higher fungi/bacteria ratio. This observation can be interpreted in terms of differences in fungi and bacteria between the two cities: Siena is shifted towards the fungal decomposition channel, which supports taxa such as oribatid mites, while Naples is shifted towards the bacterial channel, which supports chiefly detritivorous groups, such as diplopods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)715-728
    JournalUrban Ecosystems
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    PT: J; NR: 28; TC: 0; J9: URBAN ECOSYST; PG: 14; GA: CP6SF; UT: WOS:000360017700004


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