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Taxonomic diversity map

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Taxonomic diversity of soil biotic communities

Cartographic analysis of the spatial distribution of taxonomic diversity of invertebrate communities was carried out on the basis of the vegetation map of the Baikal basin.

The object of the analysis is the species (taxonomic) diversity of terrestrial invertebrates, forming community and having systemic and functional relationships. The main focus is on the mesopopulation (supraspecific taxonomic level), i.e. on relatively large invertebrates inhabiting soil and its surface.

The data were obtained as a result of a detailed study of the quantitative characteristics of invertebrate communities on key testing areas in taiga, mountain taiga and steppe geosystems of the Baikal basin. Numerous published and cartographic materials, information on soil cover and vegetation state were analyzed, and data on the heat and moisture supply to soils are taken into account. A method of soil-zoological and biogeocenotic studies with the application of the comparative-geographical approach was used in formulating and carrying out the work. Opportunities of landscape indication, based on theoretical concepts about the relation and interdependence of all natural components within a certain genetically homogeneous space, were used to compile map models of distribution of soil-biotic communities.

The structure of the animal population corresponding to the specific range of edaphic conditions ensuring normal functioning of soil organisms, was interpreted from the standpoint of the landscape-typological approach, i.e. correlation and subsequent identification (experimentally) of soil invertebrates in specific conditions of their habitat.

Spatial patterns of change in species diversity in gradients of environmental factors such as altitudinal zonality, temperature regime and moisture content of soil were identified on the most well-studied model groups of invertebrates in the Baikal region, namely, the representatives of the Lumbricidae, Carabidae, Staphylinidae, and Elateridae families.

As a result of a unified research methodology the communities of terrestrial invertebrates were united into four groups: alpine, taiga and forest, forest-steppe and steppe, and meadow and hydrophilic. Five categories of diversity of the structure were identified in each group according to the number of taxonomic units in a community: 1 - very low diversity (less than 5 taxa), 2 - low (6-10 taxa), 3 - medium (11-15 taxa), 4 - high (16-20 taxa), and 5 - very high (more than 20 taxa).

On the basis of the structural-dynamic analysis of differences in habitats and corresponding invertebrate complexes on the macrogeographical level, two main types of community structure are distinguished: mesothermohygrophile with a relatively small fraction of insects and a large fraction of annelids, and xeroresistant with significant participation of the class of insects. The first type includes zoocomplexes of taiga, forest and meadow biogeocenoses, represented mainly by moisture-loving forms, and the second one includes zoocomplexes of steppificated, steppes and radically anthropogenically disturbed biogeocenoses, dominated by insects with relatively short development cycles and largely adapted to moisture deficit. This corresponds to two main types of natural environment: of excess moisture - taiga with humid climate, and insufficient moisture - steppe with semihumid climate.

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