This study aimed to: (1) assess differences between two quantitative sampling methods of soil microarthropods (visual census vs. stone washing) in ice-free areas located along a latitudinal gradient (from 72 degrees 37'S to 74 degrees 42'S) in northern Victoria Land (Antarctica); (2) furnish preliminary results on the abundance and diversity of mites and springtails in the studied areas. Visual census yielded reliable density estimates for adult collembolans and larger prostigmatic mites but did not detect small species. The study updates the distribution of several mites, including the southernmost record of an Oribatida species at global scale. Species composition was correlated with latitude but the uneven abundance distribution and local high beta-diversity probably reflect habitat fragmentation and population isolation. Under this circumstance nested sampling design should be usefully employed. Priorities and suitable methods for studying terrestrial microarthropod communities in continental Antarctica are discussed.
- terrestrial arthropods
- ROSS ISLAND