We examined the response of communities of four groups of organisms (plants, snails, ants and spiders) in a small scale mosaic of 8-years mown and unmown plots in a wet meadow in Central Europe. The experimental setup consisted of 7 unmown and 8 regularly mown 4 m2 plots in checkerboard arrangement. Eight years after the start of the experiment, the plant community structure diverged in response to mowing/nonmowing, both in species composition and structure. Both bryophyte and vascular plant species numbers were significantly higher in the mown plots. In unmown plots, bryophytes nearly disappeared and plots were dominated by the tall tussock grass Molinia caerulea. Both diversity and abundance of snails were higher in unmown plots than in mown ones. Ant nests were more abundant in mown plots and species composition differed between mown and unmown plots. We captured significantly more individuals of spiders in mown plots but we did not find any difference in species composition. We conclude that the 8-years duration of different management of 4 m2 plots was sufficient to establish different communities in low movable organisms, whereas these plots are probably too small to host different assemblages of organisms with good active dispersal abilities.
Principal component analysis
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Pech, P., Dolanský, J., Hrdlička, R. et al. Differential response of communities of plants, snails, ants and spiders to long-term mowing in a small-scale experiment. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 16, 115–124 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1556/168.2015.16.1.13
- Ants - Seifert (2007)
- bryophytes - Kučera et al. (2012)
- molluscs - Horsák et al. (2013)
- spiders - Platnick (2013)
- vascular plants - Kubát et al. (2002)