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Food choice of Antarctic soil arthropods clarified by stable isotope signatures

Bokhorst, S.; Ronfort, C.; Huiskes, A.; Convey, P.; Aerts, R.. 2007 Food choice of Antarctic soil arthropods clarified by stable isotope signatures. Polar Biology, 30 (8). 983-990. 10.1007/s00300-007-0256-4

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Abstract/Summary

Antarctic soil ecosystems are amongst the most simplified on Earth and include only few soil arthropod species, generally believed to be opportunistic omnivorous feeders. Using stable isotopic analyses, we investigated the food choice of two common and widely distributed Antarctic soil arthropod species using natural abundances of 13C and 15N and an isotope labelling study. In the laboratory we fed the isotomid springtail Cryptopygus antarcticus six potential food sources (one algal species, two lichens and three mosses). Our results showed a clear preference for algae and lichens rather than mosses. These results were corroborated by field data comparing stable isotope signatures from the most dominant cryptogams and soil arthropods (C. antarcticus and the oribatid mite Alaskozetes antarcticus). Thus, for the first time in an Antarctic study, we present clear evidence that these soil arthropods show selectivity in their choice of food and have a preference for algae and lichens above mosses.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s00300-007-0256-4
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > Biodiversity, Functions, Limits and Adaptation from Molecules to Ecosystems
ISSN: 0722-4060
Additional Keywords: Mites; Alaskozetes antarcticus; Collembola; Cryptopygus antarcticus; Food choice
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Date made live: 27 May 2008 14:30
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/3123

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