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Factors affecting soil fauna feeding activity in a fragmented lowland temperate deciduous woodland

Simpson, Jake E.; Slade, Eleanor; Riutta, Terhi; Taylor, Michele E.. 2012 Factors affecting soil fauna feeding activity in a fragmented lowland temperate deciduous woodland. PLoS ONE, 7 (1), e29616. 10.1371/journal.pone.0029616

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Abstract/Summary

British temperate broadleaf woodlands have been widely fragmented since the advent of modern agriculture and development. As a result, a higher proportion of woodland area is now subject to edge effects which can alter the efficiency of ecosystem functions. These areas are particularly sensitive to drought. Decomposition of detritus and nutrient cycling are driven by soil microbe and fauna coactivity. The bait lamina assay was used to assess soil fauna trophic activity in the upper soil horizons at five sites in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire: two edge, two intermediate and one core site. Faunal trophic activity was highest in the core of the woodland, and lowest at the edge, which was correlated with a decreasing soil moisture gradient. The efficiency of the assay was tested using four different bait flavours: standardised, ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.), oak (Quercus robur L.), and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.). The standardised bait proved the most efficient flavour in terms of feeding activity. This study suggests that decomposition and nutrient cycling may be compromised in many of the UK's small, fragmented woodlands in the event of drought or climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1371/journal.pone.0029616
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 31 Jan 2012 10:53
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/16563

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