Habitat differences filter functional diversity of low dispersive microscopic animals (Acari, Halacaridae)



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Martínez, Alejandro and García Gómez, Guillermo and García Herrero, Álvaro and Sánchez Santos, Nuria and Pardos Martínez, Fernando and Izquierdo Muñoz, Andrés and Fontaneto, Diego and Mammola, Stefano (2021) Habitat differences filter functional diversity of low dispersive microscopic animals (Acari, Halacaridae). Hydrobiologia, 848 . pp. 2681-2698. ISSN 0018-8158, 1573-5117

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-021-04586-x


We are starting to appreciate that microscopic animals are not as widespread as previously thought, but we still ignore to what extent and through which mechanisms the environment selects for specific communities or traits in microscopic animals. We here analyse the functional diversity of marine mite communities living in a seagrass meadow across two habitats: the leaves and the matte. The strictly benthic lifestyle and the conserved morphology of mites allow for unambiguous characterisation of their functional traits, while the discrete nature of the two habitats alleviates the uncertainty in their ecological characterisation. Our results show that habitat filters the distribution of certain traits favouring a higher diversity, dispersion, and evenness of functional traits in the matte than in the leaves. We further observed temporal variations in the functional diversity of communities, following the changes in biomass and structure of seagrass leaves. However, despite the stark differences between the two habitats, the filtering effect is partial and affects mostly relative species abundances. Our study emphasises the need of moving from a taxonomical towards a functional view of ecological studies of microscopic organisms. This integrative approach is key to achieve a mechanistic understanding of their habitat and distribution patterns.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Functional originality; Meiofauna; Halacaridae; Posidonia oceanica; n-Dimensional; Hypervolumes; Trait ecology
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Invertebrates
ID Code:69323
Deposited On:21 Dec 2021 12:05
Last Modified:19 Sep 2022 07:50

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