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Biotopic Association of Earthworms in Intact Forests of Teberda Nature Reserve

Abstract

Contribution of micromosaic structure of high mountain forests to ecological diversity of earthworms have been assessed. Intact forests of Arkhyz section of Teberda Nature Reserve were studied. The dominant types of forests have been recognized for the first time based on eco-coenotic classification. The ecological conditions of their functioning have been studied. Earthworm numbers have been studied in the recognized forest types. Diversity of earthworms was studied in soils under crowns, under fallen trees, and in mosses growing on rocks. 16 species of Lumbricidae have been found, with 4 of them being discovered for the first time. Full complexes of Lumbricidae were associated with biotopes of forest types of increased soil moisture content, low acidity, availability of nitrogen and pronounced litter. The largest abundance, diversity and biomass of Lumbricidae have been found in nitrophilous tallgrass gray alder forests. The lowest have been found in xeromesophytic pine forests with fir, spruce and birch. The most widespread dark coniferous forest with beech were inhabited by seven species of Lumbricidae, dominated by the epigeic species. There were few epi-endogeic and anecic species. The endogeic group of earthworms was represented by Crimea and Caucasus subendemic Dendrobaena schmidti. Diversity and biomass of earthworms in dark coniferous forests with beech were higher than in spruce-fir forests. During summer, dead fallen trees served as a microsite preferential for epigeic and endogeic species, while mosses growing on rocks were preferred by endogeic species.

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Funding

The study was performed within the framework of the State Appointment to the Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity of the Russian Academy of Science, project no. 0110-2018-0007. Samples were collected with the financial support of the Russian Foundation of Basic Research, project no. 16-04-00395 A. The analysis of the material was funded by the grant of the Russian Science Foundation, project no. 16-17-10284.

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Correspondence to A. P. Geras’kina.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies involving animals performed by any of the authors.

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Translated by V. Mittova

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Geras’kina, A.P., Shevchenko, N.E. Biotopic Association of Earthworms in Intact Forests of Teberda Nature Reserve. Contemp. Probl. Ecol. 12, 731–742 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1995425519070047

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Keywords:

  • old growth forests
  • forest types
  • eco-coenotic structure
  • micromosaic structure
  • earthworms
  • Lumbricidae
  • microsites