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Title: The importance of foundation species identity: a field experiment with lichens and their associated micro-arthropod communities
Authors: Roos, Ruben E.
Birkemoe, Tone
Bokhorst, Stef
Wardle, David A.
Asplund, Johan
Keywords: Science::Biological sciences::Ecology
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Roos, R. E., Birkemoe, T., Bokhorst, S., Wardle, D. A. & Asplund, J. (2022). The importance of foundation species identity: a field experiment with lichens and their associated micro-arthropod communities. Basic and Applied Ecology, 62, 45-54.
Journal: Basic and Applied Ecology
Abstract: Foundation species provide habitat and modify the availability of resources to other species. In nature, multiple foundation species may occur in mixture, but little is known on how their interactions shape the community assembly of associated species. Lichens provide both structural habitat and resources to a variety of associated organisms and thereby serve as foundation species. In this study, we use mat-forming lichens and their associated micro-arthropods as a miniature ecosystem to study potential synergies between foundation species diversity and the abundance and functional diversity of higher trophic levels. We created lichen patches with monocultures and mixtures of up to four species, and extracted Collembola (identified to species level), Oribatida, Mesostigmata, Pseudoscorpiones, and Araneae with Tullgren apparatuses after 106 days of incubation within a natural lichen mat. We found that different lichen species supported different arthropod abundances. For 19 out of a total of 55 lichen mixtures and arthropod groups, we found non-additive, synergistic effects on arthropod abundance, although the specific lichen mixture causing synergistic effects differed with arthropod group. In addition, synergistic effects on arthropod abundance were more common for arthropod groups at lower trophic levels. The functional diversity of lichen mixtures explained patterns in Collembola abundance, but in the opposite direction than hypothesized because synergistic responses were more frequent in functionally similar lichen mixtures. Finally, we found few effects of lichen mixture identity or diversity on the functional diversity of Collembola communities. When applied to large-scale ecosystems, our results suggest that understanding interactions between coexisting foundation species and identifying those species that drive synergistic effects of foundation species on consumer biota, is likely to be of importance to biodiversity conservation and restoration efforts.
ISSN: 1439-1791
DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2022.04.004
Schools: Asian School of the Environment 
Rights: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier GmbH on behalf of Gesellschaft für Ökologie. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:ASE Journal Articles

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