Flourish or flush : effects of simulated extreme rainfall events on **Sphagnum**-dwelling testate amoebae in a subarctic bog (Abisko, Sweden)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Microbial ecology. - New York
, p. 101-110
University of Antwerp
Extreme precipitation events are recognised as important drivers of ecosystem responses to climate change and can considerably affect high-latitude ombrotrophic bogs. Therefore, understanding the relationships between increased rainfall and the biotic components of these ecosystems is necessary for an estimation of climate change impacts. We studied overall effects of increased magnitude, intensity and frequency of rainfall on assemblages of Sphagnum-dwelling testate amoebae in a field climate manipulation experiment located in a relatively dry subarctic bog (Abisko, Sweden). The effects of the treatment were estimated using abundance, species diversity and structure of living and empty shell assemblages of testate amoebae in living and decaying layers of Sphagnum. Our results show that increased rainfall reduced the mean abundance and species richness of living testate amoebae. Besides, the treatment affected species structure of both living and empty shell assemblages, reducing proportions of hydrophilous species. The effects are counterintuitive as increased precipitation-related substrate moisture was expected to have opposite effects on testate amoeba assemblages in relatively dry biotopes. Therefore, we conclude that other rainfall-related factors such as increased infiltration rates and frequency of environmental disturbances can also affect testate amoeba assemblages in Sphagnum and that hydrophilous species are particularly sensitive to variation in these environmental variables.