Faculté des sciences

Testate Amoebae (Protista) Communities in Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) B.S.G. (Bryophyta): Relationships with Altitude, and Moss Elemental Chemistry

Mitchell, Edward A. D. ; Bragazza, Luca ; Gerdol, Renato

In: Protist, 2004, vol. 155, no. 4, p. 423-436

We studied the testate amoebae in the moss Hylocomium splendens along an altitudinal gradient from 1000 to 2200 m asl. in the south-eastern Alps of Italy in relation to micro- and macro-nutrient content of moss plants. Three mountainous areas were chosen, two of them characterised by calcareous bedrock, the third by siliceous bedrock. A total of 25 testate amoebae taxa were recorded, with... Plus

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    Summary
    We studied the testate amoebae in the moss Hylocomium splendens along an altitudinal gradient from 1000 to 2200 m asl. in the south-eastern Alps of Italy in relation to micro- and macro-nutrient content of moss plants. Three mountainous areas were chosen, two of them characterised by calcareous bedrock, the third by siliceous bedrock. A total of 25 testate amoebae taxa were recorded, with a mean species richness of 9.3 per sampling plot. In a canonical correspondence analysis, 63.1% of the variation in the amoebae data was explained by moss tissue chemistry, namely by C, P, Ca, Mg, Al, Fe, and Na content and a binary site variable. We interpreted this result as an indirect effect of moss chemistry on testate amoebae through an influence on prey organisms. Although two species responded to altitude, there was no overall significant relationship between testate amoebae diversity or community structure and altitude, presumably because our sampling protocol aimed at minimizing the variability due to vegetation types and soil heterogeneity. This suggests that previous evidence of altitudinal or latitudinal effects on testate amoebae diversity may at least in part be due to a sampling bias, namely differences in soil type or moss species sampled.