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Diversity, species richness, and abundance of spiders (Araneae) in different strata of boreal white spruce stands

  • Jaime Pinzon (a1), John R. Spence (a1) and David W. Langor (a2)


Spiders (Araneae) were sampled in white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss (Pinaceae)) dominated stands from the ground and shrub layers, and from several overstorey strata to assess patterns in species composition and diversity (alpha and beta) along the vertical gradient (0–12 m above ground). Overall, 3070 adult spiders in 15 families and 76 species were collected, with the ground layer accounting for the highest species richness (40 species) followed by the mid-overstorey (36 spp.) and the shrub layers (33 species). Vertical stratification was apparent in the samples: richness clearly decreased with height, and species turnover between the ground, shrub, and mid-overstorey levels was evident, suggesting that species composition in each layer was highly distinctive. Within the mid-overstorey stratification was less obvious but both species richness and spider abundance were predicted significantly by height from the ground and branch size. Given the role of late-seral conifer stands for maintaining old-growth species, understanding diversity patterns across strata provides basic knowledge to support forest management decisions that effectively conserve spider species and assemblages. It is clearly important to include higher canopy layers in considering impacts of forestry on biodiversity in the boreal mixedwood.

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