Negative responses of Collembola in a forest soil (Alptal, Switzerland) under experimentally increased N deposition

Xu Guo-Liang 1, Schleppi Patrick 2, Li Mai-He 2, Fu Sheng-Lei 1

1 Institute of Ecology, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
2 Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Environ. Pollut. 157 (2009): 2030-2036

DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.02.026


The response of specific groups of organisms, like Collembola to atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is still scarcely known. We studied the Collembola community in a subalpine forest (Alptal, Switzerland) as subjected for 12 years to an experimentally increased N deposition (+25 on top of ambient 12 kg N ha-1 year-1). In the 0-5 cm soil layer, there was a tendency of total Collembola densities to be lower in N-treated than in control plots. The density of Isotomiella minor, the most abundant species, was significantly reduced by the N addition. A tendency of lower Collembola group richness was observed in N-treated plots. The Density-Group index (dDG) showed a significant reduction of community diversity, but the Shannon-Wiener index (H') was not significantly affected by the N addition. The Collembola community can be considered as a bioindicator of N inputs exceeding the biological needs, namely of soil N saturation.

Keywords: soil fauna, indicator, N saturation, environmental change, diversity index