Advertisement

Do Water Bears Climb Trees Too?

  • William R. Miller
  • Logan Gallardo
  • Tiffany Clark
Chapter

Abstract

Microinvertebrates are those animals on the edge of invisibility, generally requiring a microscope to see. They include mites, rotifers, nematodes, and tardigrades and form an unseen part of the food web. These animals eat smaller organisms (bacteria, algae, and protozoans,) and are eaten by larger ones (mites, insect larva, insects, or each other). In turn, they are consumed by the animals that graze on their habitat of moss and lichen. But their habitat is threatened by logging, burning, air pollution, and global warming. Edge effect and forest islands are increasing, as are average temperatures. It is clear that the underlying habitat for microinvertebrates (moss, lichen, and algae on trees) must also be declining and changing and the formula for the survival of these invisible components of the canopy ecosystem is being altered. It is unclear if the microinvertebrates can or will be able to change as the paradigm for their survival shifts. If not, they might be the weak link in the productivity of forest ecosystems.

Keywords

Tardigrade Vertical distribution Diversity 

References

  1. Counts JW, Henley L, Skrabal M, Keller HW (2001) Biological jewels in tree canopies. Trans Missouri Acad Sci 35(2):69Google Scholar
  2. Erwin TL (1982) Tropical forests: their richness in Coleoptera and other arthropod species. Coleopt Bull 36:74–75Google Scholar
  3. Jönnson KI, Rabbow E, Schill RO, Harms-Ringdahl M, Rettberg P (2008) Tardigrades survive exposure to space in low earth orbit. Curr Biol 18(17):729–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kinchin IM (1994) The biology of tardigrades. Portland Press, London, pp. 186Google Scholar
  5. Lowman MD, Rinker HB (eds) (2004) Forest Canopies. Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 1–544Google Scholar
  6. Miller WR (1997) Tardigrades: bears of the moss. Kans Sch Nat 43(3):1–16Google Scholar
  7. Miller WR (2004) Tardigrades: bears of the canopy. In: Lowman MD, Rinker HB (eds) Forest Canopies. Elsevier AcademicPress, San Diego, pp. 251–258Google Scholar
  8. Mitchell CR, Miller WR, Davis B (2009) Tardigrades of North America: influence of substrate on habitat selection. J Pa Acad Sci 83(1):10–16Google Scholar
  9. Nelson DR (1975) Ecological Distribution of Tardigrades on Roan Mountain, Tennessee-North Carolina. In: Higgins RP (ed) International Symposium on Tardigrades, 1974. Memorie dell’Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia, Suppl. 32:225–276Google Scholar
  10. Nelson D, McInnes SJ (2002) Tardigrada. In: Rundle SD, Robertson AL, Schmid-Araya JM (eds) Freshwater meiofaunal biology and ecology. Backhuys, Leiden, pp. 177–215Google Scholar
  11. Pilato G, Binda MG (2010) Definition of families, subfamilies, genera and sub genera of the Eutardigrada and keys to their identification. Zootaxa 2402:1–54Google Scholar
  12. Ramazzotti G, Maucci W (1983) Il Phylum Tardigrada. III edizione riveduta e aggiornata, Memorie dell'Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia, vol 42. p. 1–1011Google Scholar
  13. Voegtlin DJ (1982) Invertebrates of H.J. Andrews Experimental forest, western Cascade Mountains, Oregon: a survey of arthropods associated with the canopy of old growth Pseudotsuga menziesii. Forest Research Laboratory, School of Forestry, Oregon State University, CorvallisGoogle Scholar
  14. Wilson EO (2005) The future of life. Knopf, Borzoi Books, Random House, New York, pp. 230Google Scholar
  15. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis, 4th edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Miller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Logan Gallardo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tiffany Clark
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBaker UniversityBaldwin CityUSA
  2. 2.North Carolina Museum of Natural SciencesRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations