Structure and function of two Antarctic terrestrial moss communities

Two bryophyte—dominated communities in the maritime Antarctic are analyzed in terms of the transfer and standing crops of organic matter within them. A moss turf dominated by Polytrichum alpestre and Chorisodontium aciphyllum and a moss carpet composed of Calliergon sarmentosum, Calliergidium austro—stramineum, and Drepanocladus uncinatus with the liverwort Cephaloziella varians were investigated at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Biomass, respiration, and production data for the primary producers (mosses, lichens, liverworts, and algae), for the fauna (Protozoa, Rotifera, Tardigrada, Nematoda, Acari, and Collembola), and for the microflora were synthesized, and annual rates of consumption, egestion, assimilation, and production were derived. The two communities showed similar levels of productivity, trophic structure, and efficiencies of organic matter transfer, but different Collembola and Acari standing crops, turnover of mosses, and accumulation of dead organic matter. These features are discussed in relation to the role of biotic and abiotic variables in determining community structure and function.


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Authors: Davis, R.C.

1 January, 1981
Ecological Monographs / 51
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