Determinants of terrestrial arthropod community composition at Cape Hallett, Antarctica

20 April 2007

The distribution and abundance of free-living arthropods from soil and under stones were surveyed at the Cape Hallett ice-free area (ASPA No. 106), North Victoria Land, Antarctica. A total of 327 samples from 67 plots yielded 11 species of arthropods comprised of three Collembola: Cryptopygus cisantarcticus, Friesea grisea and Isotoma klovstadi and eight mites: Coccorhagidia gressitti, Eupodes wisei, Maudheimia petronia, Nanorchestes sp., Stereotydeus belli, S. punctatus, Tydeus setsukoae and T wadei. Arthropods were absent from areas occupied by the large Adelie penguin colony. There was some distinction among arthropod communities of different habitats, with water and a lichen species (indicative of scree slope habitats) ranking as significant community predictors alongside spatial variables in a Canonical Correspondence Analysis. Recent changes to the management plan for ASPA No. 106 may need to be revisited as the recommended campsite is close to the area of greatest arthropod diversity.