Functional ecology of soil organisms in tundra ecosystems: Towards the future



Hodkinson ID & Wookey P (1999) Functional ecology of soil organisms in tundra ecosystems: Towards the future. Applied Soil Ecology, 11 (2-3), pp. 111-126.

The need to understand the functional linkages between Arctic/alpine soil communities and the major soil processes is stressed. Soil organisms are classified into broad functional groups and it is suggested that the functional success of any organism can be defined by its position along four axes, namely population responsiveness, dispersability, ecophysiological flexibility and resource use flexibility. Each of these axes is defined by reference to a spectrum of relevant ecological attributes. The resilience and response of tundra communities to change are discussed and the possible alteration in community structure and function that may result from shifting climate patterns are reviewed. The interrelationship between the spatial distribution patterns of organisms and their dispersability is highlighted and the significance of the thermal environment in moderating the competitive interaction between species is emphasised. The advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to studying the effect of climate change on Arctic/alpine community structure and function are contrasted. In particular, the manipulative experimental approach is distinguished from the comparative approach that makes use of measurements taken along geographical/ecological transects as analogues for climate change.

Arctic soil; tundra ecosystem; community structure and function; biodiversity; climate change;

Applied Soil Ecology: Volume 11, Issue 2-3

FundersUniversity of London
Publication date01/02/1999
Publication date online12/01/1999
Date accepted by journal21/05/1998
PublisherElsevier Science

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Professor Philip Wookey
Professor Philip Wookey

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences