Spatial patterns and autocorrelation in the response of microarthropods to soil pollutants: The example of oribatid mites in an abandoned mining and smelting area

Tancredi Caruso*, Massimo Migliorini, Charlie Bucci, Roberto Bargagli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although exogenous factors such as pollutants can act on endogenous drivers (e.g. dispersion) of populations and create spatially autocorrelated distributions, most statistical techniques assume independence of error terms. As there are no studies on metal soil pollutants and microarthropods that explicitly analyse this key issue, we completed a field study of the correlation between Oribatida and metal concentrations in litter, organic matter and soil in an attempt to account for spatial patterns of both metals and mites. The 50-m wide study area had homogenous macroscopic features, steep Pb and Cu gradients and high levels of Zn and Cd. Spatial models failed to detect metal-oribatid relationships because the observed latitudinal and longitudinal gradients in oribatid assemblages were independent of the collinear gradients in the concentration of metals. It is therefore hypothesised that other spatially variable factors (e.g. fungi, reduced macrofauna) affect oribatid assemblages, which may be influenced by metals only indirectly. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2939-2948
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume157
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Metal pollution
  • DIVERSITY
  • COMMUNITIES ACARI
  • SHOOTING RANGE
  • HEAVY-METAL CONTAMINATION
  • Soil
  • COLLEMBOLA
  • ACCUMULATION
  • Microarthropods
  • FOREST
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • INVERTEBRATES
  • LONG-TERM
  • GRADIENT
  • Modelling

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