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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (4): 632-646    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0008-9
Research Articles     
Ground-active arthropod responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats in a desertified steppe ecosystem, China
LIU Rentao1,2*, ZHU Fan1, Yosef STEINBERGER2
1 Key Laboratory for Restoration and Reconstruction of Degraded Ecosystem in Northwestern China of Ministry of Education, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China;
2 The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
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Abstract  Different microhabitats along dune slope were found to affect the distribution of plant performances and soil properties in desertified ecosystems. However, the ground-active arthropod responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats were largely unknown in desertified regions. At dune top, midslope and bottom, ground-active arthropods were sampled by the method of pitfall traps in addition to the herbaceous and soil measurements during spring, summer and autumn from 2012 to 2013. Ground-active arthropod had a strong dynamics in time, seasonally and yearly in responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats and the variations were significant higher than those of soil and herbaceous properties. The abundance distribution of dominant taxa (i.e. Melolonthidae, Carabidae, Glaphyridae, Tenebrionidae and Formicidae families) among dune microhabitats was similar between seasons within the same year, whereas they differed markedly between two sampling years with varying rainfall patterns. A significant (P<0.05) difference in total abundance, taxa richness and Shannon index among dune microhabitats was found only in certain season time, particularly in 2013; however, no significant (P>0.05) differences were found among dune microhabitats when averaged on three sampling seasons within the year of either 2012 or 2013. In all, the taxonomical structure differed considerably from the community structure in ground-active arthropod response to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats. The spatial distribution of taxonomical groups among dune microhabitats was significantly affected by inter-annual rainfall changes, whereas that of community structure was affected by both intra- and inter-annual rainfall changes in desertified ecosystems.

Received: 12 October 2015      Published: 10 August 2016

The Science Research Foundation of Ningxia Higher Education (NGY2015053), Ningxia Natural Science Foundation (NZ15025), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41101050).

Corresponding Authors: LIU Rentao     E-mail:;
Cite this article:

LIU Rentao, ZHU Fan, Yosef STEINBERGER. Ground-active arthropod responses to rainfall-induced dune microhabitats in a desertified steppe ecosystem, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(4): 632-646.

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