Short-term response of soil spiders to cover-crop removal in an organic olive orchard in a Mediterranean setting

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Year of publication 2012
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Insect Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords Araneae cover crops disturbance ground dwelling spiders olive agroecosystem
Description This study shows that disturbance caused by cover-crop removal (CCR) in an organic olive orchard affects ground-spider populations. The effect of CCR on various organic olive-orchard plots was assessed by monitoring the abundance and diversity of ground-dwelling spiders. Covered plots in the organic olive orchard were compared with uncovered plots where the covers had been removed mechanically. CCR positively affected the most abundant spider species Zodarion styliferum (Simon) (Araneae: Zodariidae) as well as other species of running spiders belonging to the families Gnaphosidae and Lycosidae. Over time, the two types of plots did not significantly differ in diversity or dominance. Similarly, no differences were detected between the study plots in terms of the distribution of individuals when a cluster-similarity analysis was performed. This lack of difference in diversity might be due to the spatial scale used in the study or climatology. Because of their general effects, CCR profoundly changed the abundance of spiders in the olive orchard, but with no clear impact on spider diversity.
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