To investigate the micro-arthropod species inhabiting the montane forest canopy from three elevational sites (800 m, 1000 m, 1200 m) at Mt. Cain on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, we placed sterile litter bags filled with fir needles in the canopy and on the ground beside nine randomly chosen amabilis fir (Abies amabilis) trees. Our objectives were 1) to determine the faunal composition and diversity of micro-arthropods that colonize the needle litter microhabitat; 2) to determine the colonization rates of canopy micro-arthropod groups, specifically oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida); and 3) to compare the rates of needle litter decomposition between the ground and canopy at different elevations, relating these results to patterns of micro-arthropod abundance. Arthropods were collected after three colonization periods (60, 120, 360 days), extracted from litter bags using a modified Lussenhop method, counted, and identified to order. Acari, Collembola, and Psocoptera were the dominant arthropods colonizing the needle litter. Two-way analysis of covariance showed ground and canopy colonization rates significantly different but with similar patterns of colonization occurring over time for all groups. Colonization rates were lower for most taxa at high elevations compared to low elevations, and most micro-arthropod taxa showed significantly different patterns of colonization across elevations. Colonization and decomposition rates were lower in the canopy than on the ground, and no differences in decomposition rates were found to occur across elevations. Our study of the colonization and decomposition of these experimental substrates will enable further assessment of the micro-arthropod diversity and decomposition processes in the montane forest. It also will contribute to our understanding of the biology of soil organisms inhabiting the lichenrich canopy of montane amabilis fir trees.
Open Access and Copyright Notice
Selbyana is committed to real and immediate open access for academic work. All of Selbyana's articles and reviews are free to access immediately upon publication. There are no author charges (APCs) prior to publication, and no charges for readers to download articles and reviews for their own scholarly use. To facilitate this, Selbyana depends on the financial backing of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the hard work and dedication of its editorial team and advisory board, and the continuing support of its network of peer reviewers and partner institutions.
Authors are free to choose which open license they would like to use for their work. Our default license is the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). While Selbyana’s articles can be copied by anyone for noncommercial purposes if proper credit is given, all materials are published under an open-access license with authors retaining full and permanent ownership of their work. The author grants Selbyana a perpetual, non-exclusive right to publish the work and to include it in other aggregations and indexes to achieve broader impact and visibility.
Authors are responsible for and required to ascertain that they are in possession of image rights for any and all photographs, illustrations, and figures included in their work or to obtain publication or reproduction rights from the rights holders. Contents of the journal will be registered with the Directory of Open Access Journals and similar repositories. Authors are encouraged to store their work elsewhere, for instance in institutional repositories or personal websites, including commercial sites such as academia.edu, to increase circulation (see The Effects of Open Access).