Soil pore volume and the abundance of soil mites in two contrasting habitats

Uffe N. Nielsen, Graham H. R. Osler, Rene van der Wal, Colin D. Campbell, David F. R. P. Burslem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Microarthropods are mainly found in the organic layer of soils but show high spatial variability in abundance that remains poorly understood. A factor that could be influencing the abundance of microarthropods is the soil pore volume. Consequently, we tested the hypothesis that mite abundance is related to soil pore volume in two contrasting habitats. Heather moorland and birch woodland, with contrasting humus forms, showed high within-habitat variation in soil pore volume and mite abundance. The abundance of oribatid mites in both habitats and the abundance of mesostigmatid mites in heather moorland were strongly and positively related to the volume of pores in the range 60-300 mu m. This supports the hypothesis that mite abundance is influenced by soil pore volume and we stress that soil structure should be considered as an explanatory variable when studying microarthropod communities. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1538-1541
Number of pages4
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number6
Early online date6 Feb 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • mesostigmata
  • microarthropods
  • Oribatida
  • soil pore volume
  • heather moorland
  • organic-matter
  • birch betula
  • diversity
  • complexity
  • fauna
  • decomposition
  • succession
  • compaction
  • assemblage


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