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Food choice of Antarctic soil arthropods clarified by stable isotope signatures

Bokhorst, S.F. and Ronfort, C. and Huiskes, A.H.L. and Convey, P. and Aerts, R.A.M. (2007) Food choice of Antarctic soil arthropods clarified by stable isotope signatures. Polar Biology, 30, 983-990. ISSN 0722-4060.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-007-0256-4

Abstract

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:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:4634
Deposited On:16 Sep 2009 02:00
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 16:47

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