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Title of article :
Effects of seasonal and diurnal temperature fluctuations on population dynamics of two epigeic earthworm species in forest soil
Author/Authors :
Uvarov، نويسنده , , Alexei V. and Tiunov، نويسنده , , Alexei V. and Scheu، نويسنده , , Stefan، نويسنده ,
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Abstract :
Temperature fluctuations are a fundamental entity of the soil environment in the temperate zone and show fast (diurnal) and slow (seasonal) dynamics. However, responses of soil ecosystem engineers, such as earthworms, to annual temperature dynamics are virtually unknown. We studied growth, mortality and cocoon production of epigeic earthworm species (Lumbricus rubellus and Dendrobaena octaedra) exposed to temperature fluctuations in root-free soil of a mid-European beech–oak forest. Both earthworm species (3 + 3 individuals of each species) were kept in microcosms containing soil stratified into L, F + H and Ah horizons. In the field, earthworm responses to smoothing of diurnal temperature fluctuations were studied, simulating possible global change. In the laboratory, earthworm responses to seasonal (±5 °C of the annual mean) and diurnal temperature fluctuations (±5 °C of the seasonal levels) were analyzed in a two-factorial design. Both experiments lasted 12 months to differentiate between seasonal and diurnal responses. In the third experiment overwintering success of both earthworm species was investigated by comparing effects of constant temperature regime (+2 °C), and daily or weekly temperature fluctuations (2 °C ± 5 °C). ature regime strongly affected population performance of the earthworms studied. In the field, smoothed temperature fluctuations beneficially affected population development of both earthworm species (higher biomass, faster maturity and reproduction, lower mortality). Consequently, density of both species increased faster at smoothed than at ambient temperature conditions. In the laboratory, responses of L. rubellus and D. octaedra to temperature treatments differed; however, in general, earthworms benefited from the absence of diurnal fluctuations. Total earthworm numbers were at a maximum at constant temperature and lowest in the treatment with both diurnal and seasonal temperature fluctuations. However, after one year L. rubellus tended to dominate irrespective of the temperature regime. In the overwintering experiment L. rubellus sensitively responded to even short-term winter frost and went extinct after one week of frost whereas D. octaedra much better tolerated frost conditions. Earthworms of both species which survived frosts were characterized by a significant body weight decrease during the period of frosts and fast recovery in spring suggesting a different pattern of individual resource expenditure as compared with constant +2 °C winter regime. Contrasting trends in the population dynamics of L. rubellus and D. octaedra during the frost-free period and during winter suggest that in the long-term temperature fluctuations contribute to the coexistence of decomposer species of similar trophic position in the forest litter. The results are discussed in context of consequences of climate change for the functioning of soil systems.
Keywords :
Dendrobaena octaedra , Temperature , Seasonal Fluctuations , Overwintering , climate change , Earthworms , Lumbricus rubellus , Diurnal fluctuations
Journal title :
Astroparticle Physics
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