Articles | Volume 1, issue 1
23 Oct 2000
 | 23 Oct 2000

Changes within oribatid mite communities associted with Scots pine regeneration

J. A. Horwood and K. R. Butt

Abstract. Compositions of oribatid mite communities were compared under five stages of native Scots pine regeneration (spanning 100 yr) within the Abernethy Forest Reserve, U.K. Sampling was conducted during autumn and spring, and oribatid mites identified using the morphospecies technique. Results showed the oribatid mite fauna to be abundant and diverse. Density of mites generally decreased with soil depth, however in the woodland sites the upper 10 cm of soil contained more individuals than the litter layer. Eleven morphospecies showed significant differences (p < 0.05) in abundance between sites, with marked preferences shown for either mature woodland or tree-less moorland. During spring, morphospecies richness and mite density were highest at the woodland sites, but during autumn they were greater at the moorland sites. Shannon Wiener diversity indices and measures of evenness, calculated for each site, showed that despite having a high morphospecies richness, sites were often dominated by a few very abundant morphospecies. A greater number of mites were collected during autumn, but only one morphospecies showed significant seasonal differences in numbers. Factors influencing differences in oribatid communities at each site are discussed and the use of morphospecies as an identification tool is also assessed.