Sixteen years of simulated summer and winter warming have contrasting effects on soil mite communities in a sub-Arctic peat bog

Inkeri Markkula*, J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Rien Aerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Northern peatlands are very sensitive to changes in climate. Impacts of increased temperatures on hydrology, vegetation structure and soil carbon are already well documented from northern peatlands. In contrast, effects of global warming on soil mites, and seasonal effects in particular, have received less attention, even though soil mites are an important component in ecosystems as they contribute to nutrient dynamics and decomposition. We investigated the impacts of long-term (16 years) experimental seasonal climate manipulations (summer warming, winter warming with snow accumulation, and year-round warming) on oribatid (Oribatida) and mesostigmatid (Mesostigmata) mite communities in a peat bog underlain by discontinuous permafrost, in Abisko, Northern Sweden. We found that (1) Year-round warming treatment had neither impact on life-history trait compositions nor on total abundances of oribatid mites, possibly because of opposite effects of summer and winter warming; (2) Small-bodied oribatid mites, in particular those belonging to genera Suctobelba, increased in abundance under the summer warming treatment; (3) The species richness of oribatid mites was negative affected by year-round warming; (4) Mesostigmatid mites, which were not identified to species level, were found to decrease in abundance under year-round warming. Because different mite taxa with different body sizes and diets play distinct roles in carbon and nutrient dynamics, the observed changes in mite communities may impact ecosystem functions in northern peatlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-591
Number of pages11
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number3
Early online date29 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019



  • Ecological traits
  • Global warming
  • Life-history traits
  • Mesostigmatid mites
  • Oribatid mites
  • Peatlands

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