Is ornithogenic fertilisation important for collembolan communities in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems?
In the Arctic, areas close to seabird colonies are often characterized by exceptionally rich vegetation communities linked with the high nutrient subsidies transported by seabirds from the marine environment to the land. These areas also support soil invertebrate communities of which springtails (Collembola) often represent the most abundant and diverse group. Our study focused on springtail community composition in the vicinity of seabird (little auk, great skua and glaucous gull) nesting areas in different parts of Svalbard (Magdalenefjorden, Isfjorden and Bjørnøya), and on their comparison with adjacent areas not impacted by seabirds. Out of a total of 35 springtail species recorded, seven were found only within the ornithogenically influenced sites. Although geographical location was the strongest factor differentiating these springtail communities, ornithogenic influence was also significant regardless of the location. When each location was considered separately, seabirds were responsible for a relatively small but strongly significant proportion (8.6, 5.2 and 3.9%, respectively, for each site) of total springtail community variability. Species whose occurrence was positively correlated with seabird presence were Folsomia coeruleogrisea, Friesea quinquespinosa, Lepidocyrtus lignorum and Oligaphorura groenlandica near Magdalenefjorden, Arrhopalites principalis, Folsomia bisetosella and Protaphorura macfadyeni in Isfjorden, and Folsomia quadrioculata on Bjørnøya.