Invertebrate community assembly along proglacial chronosequences in the high Arctic

Authors

  • Ian D. Hodkinson,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK; and
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  • Stephen J. Coulson,

    1. School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK; and
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  • Nigel R. Webb

    1. School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK; and
    2. NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Winfrith Technology Centre, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8ZD, UK
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Professor Ian Hodkinson, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK. Tel: 0151 2312030; E-mail: i.d.hodkinson@livjm.ac.uk

Summary

  • 1Invertebrate community assembly is described for two contrasting proglacial chronosequences (over 1900 years) at Kongsfjord, W. Spitsbergen, Svalbard.
  • 2Three hypotheses were tested: (1) community assembly is deterministic, directional and predictable; (2) succession is inextricably linked to plant community and soil development; and (3) dispersal is a rate-limiting factor for community assembly.
  • 3Communities, dominated by omnivores and detritivores, are more complex than supposed previously. Herbivore species were few but predators, parasitoids and hyperparasitoids were abundant.
  • 4Species fell within one of eight defined groups with respect to colonization. This relates to ecophysiological tolerances, need for facilitation or dependence on other species. Spiders, surface-active Collembola and drought-resistant cryptostigmatic mites arrived before vascular plants established and soils developed. Later colonizers required site facilitation through soil development or host availability.
  • 5Comparisons between the proglacial area of Midtre Lovénbre, a land-terminating glacier, and three Lovén Islands, released from beneath a tidewater glacier, showed similarities in community composition and species abundance with respect to successional stage, suggesting determinism and direction in community development.
  • 6Most common species on Midtre Lovénbre colonized the Lovén Islands rapidly, suggesting that dispersal does not seriously restrict community development on the time scales involved. Some minor species associated with older soils appear not yet to have reached the islands.

Ancillary