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Large-scale spatial patterns in the distribution of Collembola (Hexapoda) species in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems

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Abstract Aim 

We tested whether the distribution of three common springtail species (Gressittacantha terranova, Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni and Friesea grisea) in Victoria Land (Antarctica) could be modelled as a function of latitude, longitude, altitude and distance from the sea. Location 

Victoria Land, Ross Dependency, Antarctica. Methods 

Generalized linear models were constructed using species presence/absence data relative to geographical features (latitude, longitude, altitude, distance from sea) across the species’ entire ranges. Model results were then integrated with the known phylogeography of each species and hypotheses were generated on the role of climate as a major driver of Antarctic springtail distribution. Results 

Based on model selection using Akaike’s information criterion, the species’ distributions were: hump-shaped relative to longitude and monotonic with altitude for Gressittacantha terranova; hump-shaped relative to latitude and monotonic with altitude for Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni; and hump-shaped relative to longitude and monotonic with latitude, altitude and distance from the sea for Friesea grisea. Main conclusions 

No single distributional pattern was shared by the three species. While distributions were partially a response to climatic spatial clines, the patterns observed strongly suggest that past geological events have influenced the observed distributions. Accordingly, present-day spatial patterns are likely to have arisen from the interaction of historical and environmental drivers. Future studies will need to integrate a range of spatial and temporal scales to further quantify their respective roles.

Keywords: Antarctica; Friesea grisea; Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni; Gressittacantha terranova; arthropods; macroecology; modelling; phylogeography; species distribution; springtails

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand 2: Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy 3: Department of Environmental Sciences ‘G. Sarfatti’, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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