Species richness of moss landscapes unaffected by short-term fragmentation


  • Martin Hoyle,

  • Francis Gilbert

M. Hoyle and F. Gilbert, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK, NG7 2RD (plxmh@nottingham.ac.uk).


Theory predicts that habitat fragmentation and varying corridor length and width will affect animal populations in adjoining habitat patches due to varying migration rates. Previous work on the moss/microarthropod microcosm showed that connecting moss patches with moss corridors maintained species richness and individual species abundance. By contrast, in this study there was little evidence for differences in species richness between landscapes of varying connectivity and corridor length and width. The γ diversity, the cumulative species richness of entire connected systems, followed the same pattern. Similar non-significant results were obtained for species abundance. Contrary to a previous study, I found no evidence that populations of predators were more affected by fragmentation than non-predators. Since this experiment ran during temperate environmental conditions and the previous experiments ran during more extreme conditions, I hypothesise that corridors may be more useful in reducing species extinction during extreme environmental conditions.