Niche dimensions in soil oribatid mite community assembly under native and introduced tree species

2024 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Niche dimensions in soil oribatid mite community assembly under native and introduced tree species​
Noske, J. E.; Lu, J.; Schaefer, I.; Maraun, M.; Scheu, S. & Chen, T.​ (2024) 
Ecology and Evolution14(5) art. e11431​.​ DOI: 

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Noske, Johanna Elisabeth; Lu, Jing‐Zhong; Schaefer, Ina; Maraun, Mark; Scheu, Stefan; Chen, Ting‐Wen
Abstract Forest soils are a critical component of terrestrial ecosystems and host a large number of animal decomposer species. One diverse and abundant decomposer taxon is oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida), whose species composition varies with forest type and tree species composition. We used functional traits that indicate different niche dimensions, to infer assembly processes of oribatid mite communities in monocultures and mixed forests of native and introduced tree species. We found that coexisting species differed more in the resource‐related niche dimension, i.e., reproductive mode and trophic guild, than in the morphological dimension, e.g., body length and width, sclerotization and concealability. These results suggest that both filtering and partitioning processes structure oribatid mite communities. In native European beech forests, but not in non‐native Douglas fir forests, oribatid mites were mainly structured by filtering processes acting via traits related both to environmental tolerance and to resources. Furthermore, oribatid mite trait diversity, but not phylogenetic diversity, differed significantly between monocultures and mixed forests, demonstrating that multidimensional diversity indices provide additional information on soil biodiversity. Overall, the study provides evidence that traits representing different niche dimensions need to be considered for understanding assembly processes in soil animal communities and thereby soil biodiversity.
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Ecology and Evolution 
Funder: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft



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