Effects of microclimate on behavioural and life history traits of terrestrial isopods: Implications for responses to climate change

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Abstract

The sensitivity of terrestrial isopods to changes in both temperature and moisture make them suitable models for examining possible responses of arthropod macro-decomposers to predicted climate change. Effects of changes in both temperature and relative humidity on aggregation, growth and survivorship of species of isopods contrasting in their morphological and physiological adaptations to moisture stress have been investigated in laboratory microcosms. All three traits were more sensitive to a reduction in relative humidity of 20-25% than they were to an increase in temperature of 5-6 °C. These results suggest that predicted changes in climate in south east England may reduce the extent to which soil animals stimulate microbial activity and hence carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from soils in the future. This may help to mitigate the potential for a positive feedback between increased CO2 emissions from soils, and increased greenhouse effects causing an increase in soil temperatures.

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Dixie, B., White, H., & Hassall, M. (2015). Effects of microclimate on behavioural and life history traits of terrestrial isopods: Implications for responses to climate change. ZooKeys, 2015(515), 145–157. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.515.9399

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