Body Size

Urbanisation involves major changes in environmental conditions such as light, temperature, humidity and noise levels, but the effect of urbanisation on soil conditions and soil biodiversity has received less attention. The reported effects on species richness across a rural to urban landscapes are not unequivocal. Positive, negative and neutral effects have been found, but what is causing this ambiguity in the relationship between species richness and urbanisation is poorly understood.
It has long been established that the spatial scale of inquiry affects the ecological patterns that are revealed. However, studies of the ecological drivers underlying the assembly of soil animal communities rarely adopt a multi-scale perspective. Here, we quantified the distribution of oribatid richness along a chronosequence of temperate hardwood forests in a deglaciated region of eastern North America and analyzed variation in oribatid community structure at two grain sizes: 0.1 m2 and 900 m2, and two spatial extents: 20–150 m and 80–420 km.