Influence of litter thickness on the structure of litter macrofauna of deciduous forests of Ukraine’s steppe zone


  • V. V. Brygadyrenko Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University
Keywords: diversity, trophic structure, dimensional structure, structure of domination, forest ecosystems

Abstract

The litter in a forest ecosystem acts as a trophic substrate, and at the same time it is the environment for litter invertebrates. But despite this fact, there has been very little research conducted on the influence of litter thickness on the structure of litter macrofauna. The litter of steppe forests contains most types of integrated communities of forest ecosystems. This means that its thickness cannot avoid playing a significant role in the functioning of the ecosystem. Following to the standard methodologies, Invertebrates were collected using pit-fall traps in deciduous forests of Nikolaev, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Kharkiv oblasts, which are characterized by different types of geomorphological profile, different moisture conditions, soil salinity, tree crown and herbaceous vegetation density, soil texture and other factors. The total number of macrofauna increases in conditions where litter thickness exceeds40 mmin comparison with forest ecosystems with fragmented and average capacity litter. The number of litter macrofauna species also increases from 11–23 to 38 species on average when litter thickness increases to more than40 mm. The Shannon and Pielou diversity indexes show no definite tendencies to change in relation to changing degrees of litter thickness. At sites of greater thickness of the litter layer, the corresponding increase in the absolute number of litter mesofauna invertebrates is mostly due to saprophages, and the increase the number of species – due to zoophages. The optimum structure of domination was observed at sites with maximum thickness of litter. The proportion of large species shows no statistically significant change in relation to variations in litter thickness. The qualitative compound of the fauna at sites with thick litter changes mainly due to an increase in the number of Carabidae species. 

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Published
2016-02-28
Section
Articles

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