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Title: Temporal and spatial variation in soil macrofauna of UK woodlands
Author: Inward, Kelly A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 9017
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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Little is known of the ecological structure of macro-invertebrate assemblages that live in the soil and leaf litter of British woodlands. This is the first study to investigate these assemblages at the whole community level, examining them at a range of resolutions from higher taxonomic unit (HTU) to species-level diversity and abundance across seven major groups including beetles, spiders and earthworms. Using the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) as a framework, 17 different wet and dry woodland types were sampled across England to examine the macro-invertebrate soil and litter communities, to compare and contrast the range of functional roles in each case, and to uncover the complex vegetational and environmental factors that influence invertebrate assemblage composition and structure. As the most widespread and invertebrate diverse woodland in the UK, an additional ten oak woodlands were sampled to explore the influence of geographic and climatic variables upon the patterns of soil/litter macro-invertebrates. The key findings suggest that soil moisture is most influential in determining the invertebrate species composition in all woodland types, indicating the wet woodlands are not only different to each other but to all other woodlands, and that the dry woodlands are more similar. Geographic location and soil type were found to have most influence on the diversity and abundance of both plant and invertebrate species in the dry woodlands. Air temperature is a key environmental influence on the oak woodlands as they can be grouped by geographic area, namely northern, western and central England localities. An oak woodland was further investigated for temporal patterns of soil invertebrates over a 12-month period. Findings indicate that most invertebrate species and functional groups peak in abundance at two key periods during the year: spring/early summer and later summer/autumn, this coincides with food availability for these groups at these times.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available