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Production and Biomass Turnover in Two Populations of Forest Floor Collembola

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

On the basis of a two-weekly sampling programme throughout a year, biomass dynamics and energy budgets were estimated for two forest floor Collembola, Orchesella cincta (L.) and Tomocerus minor (Lubbock) in a pine forest plantation in the Netherlands. The two species together made up 40 % of the total Collembola density and 70% of its biomass. The density of both species fluctuated greatly throughout the year, but their standing crop demonstrated only moderate changes. Biomass losses to mortality were greatest in autumn; production changed synchronously with mortality. Biomass turnover (P/B) was higher for O. cincta (8.3 yr-1) than for T. minor (6.7 yr-1). Both estimates are somewhat lower than those predicted on the basis of an allometric relation with body-size, but are considerably higher than those reported for other (soil living) Collembola species. A relation between biomass turnover and position in the soil profile is suggested to explain this discrepancy. Biomass turnover of cuedaphic species may be lower because the soil acts as a refuge from predation and permits a lower production, compared to the above ground fauna. The total consumption of the Collembola community was estimated as 600 kJ m-2 yr-1, which is equivalent to about 6% of the annual leaf litter fall. On the basis of the present data, the role of Collembola in the energy metabolism of soil communities may be greater than thought hitherto.

Affiliations: 1: Vrije Universiteit, Department of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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