The Role of Edaphic and Vegetation Factors in Structuring Beta Diversity of the Soil Macrofauna Community of the Dnipro River Arena Terrace

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The article presents the results of evaluation of the role of edaphic and vegetation factors on beta diversity of soil macrofauna by means of the MDM-approach. The multinomial diversity model (MDM) is a method for relating the Shannon diversity to ecological factors. The research was conducted in the ‘Dnipro-Orils’kiy’ Nature Reserve (Ukraine). The research polygon was laid in the forest within the Orlova ravine (48º31’13 “N, 34º48”15 “E). The study site comprises 1.0 ha of deciduous woodland bordered by an area of herbaceous cover within the ravine. In the soil of the studied polygon, 38 species of soil invertebrates were identified, which characterizes the gamma diversity. Alpha diversity, or the number of species on average at each sample point is 4.3. Beta diversity is 8.8. The principal component analysis of the edaphic parameters revealed four statistically significant principal components. For vegetation characteristics, six statistically significant principal components were identified. The sequential analysis of the effects shows that edaphic factors accounted for 20.9% (0.81 bit) of the available entropy (1.71–0.91). The largest decrease in the community entropy takes place under the action of the principal components 2 and 3 (0.06 bit and 0.05, respectively). A permutation test showed that these effects are statistically significant. In turn, 28.4% of the community β-diversity is attributable to vegetation factors. The greatest decrease in community entropy is related to the principal vegetation components 1, 3 and 4 (0.07, 0.05 and 0.04 bits, respectively). A permutation test indicated that this effect is statistically reliable. Geostatistical models substantially describe the varying effects on the beta-diversity of edaphic principal components 1 and 2, and the vegetation principal components 1 and 3. It was found that edaphic and plant factors play an important role in structuring the communities of soil macrofauna on the level of beta diversity. Community sensitivity to environmental factors varies in space and is spatially structured. For different environmental factors, specific spatial patterns of community sensitivity are allocated. Beta diversity may be due to the fact that the species of soil macrofauna communities also vary in the degree of sensitivity to various environmental factors. The species of soil microfauna are also divided according to their extent of sensitivity to different ecological factors.

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