Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 43–58 | Cite as

Hydrology-driven environmental variability determines abiotic characteristics and Oribatida diversity patterns in a Sphagnum peatland system

  • M. A. MinorEmail author
  • S. G. Ermilov
  • D. А. Philippov


We investigated oribatid mite communities in a Sphagnum-dominated boreal peatland system characterised by a mosaic of oligotrophic and meso-eutrophic areas. We aimed to determine the relative importance of environmental factors (pH, Sphagnum nutrient content, water table level, diversity of vascular plants and bryophytes in the surrounding plant community) and spatial variation in influencing abundance, diversity and community composition of aquatic and terrestrial oribatid mites. Among environmental variables, water table level (micro-topography), pH, and K in Sphagnum tissues were the main predictors of Oribatida community structure. Aquatic species were associated with pools; two terrestrial species—Hoplophthiracarus illinoisensis and Nothrus pratensis—were associated with oligotrophic hummocks; the rest of terrestrial species were associated with dryer mesotrophic and eutrophic habitats. Low water table depth (hummocks), high local plant diversity, and high P in Sphagnum tissues were predictors of high abundance of terrestrial Oribatida. Species richness of terrestrial Oribatida was linked with low water table and high plant diversity. For aquatic Oribatida abundance, water table depth was the single most important predictor variable. Plot trophic class (its status on the peatland poor-rich gradient assigned based on plant indicator species) was also a significant predictor of terrestrial Oribatida abundance, richness, and community structure. Spatial structuring was important for terrestrial Oribatida community composition, weak (P < 0.10) for terrestrial Oribatida abundance and richness, and not significant for aquatic Oribatida.


Microarthropods Abundance Species richness Community structure Productivity Habitat diversity 



We thank Alexander A. Prokin (Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of Sciences, Borok, Russia) for funding chemical analysis, Victoria V. Yurchenko (Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of Sciences, Borok, Russia) for pH analysis, and Dr. Gillian Rapson (School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, New Zealand) for discussion of Sphagnum bogs. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions which improved the paper. Fieldwork was carried out as a part of the Russian Science Foundation Grant no. 14-14-01134. Work by D. A. Philippov was supported within the framework of the state assignments from the Russian Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (IBIW RAS theme no. AAAA-A18-118012690099-2).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 476 KB)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and EnvironmentMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Tyumen State UniversityTyumenRussia
  3. 3.Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland WatersRussian Academy of SciencesBorokRussia

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