Part of the book: International Perspectives on Global Environmental Change
Part of the book: Environmental Change and Sustainability
Long-term studies on mites in Norwegian coniferous forests are summarized. In podzol soil with raw humus, mite densities could pass 1 million per m2, with 48 species of Oribatida and 12 species of Mesostigmata. Field and laboratory experiments with liming and artificial acid rain showed that soil pH affected the structure of the mite community. Certain species of mites and springtails typical for acid soils did, however, show preference for a higher pH in monoculture. We hypothesized that competition could be a strong regulating factor in microarthropod communities. Several oribatid species were flexible regarding soil type, vegetation, substrate, and decomposition stage. The genus Carabodes showed examples on specialists: two species were grazers on Cladonia lichens in dry pine forests, while three were decomposers in dead polypore fungi. Another three oribatid species from different genera were unique in excavating spruce needles, producing slowly decomposing excrements, and probably contributing to stable, carbon-storing humus. In microcosms, predatory Gamasina mites were seen to regulate microarthropod numbers. Mites were able to adjust both their vertical and horizontal distribution in soil according to environmental change. A local and temporary burst of fungal activity could rapidly attract opportunistic fungal feeders. Several mites were active under snow, often feeding. Some even penetrated into the snow layer.
Part of the book: Acarology, Mite Biology and Ecology