The aboveground phytomass of meadow plants and the density of chortobiont invertebrates in secondary upland meadows were estimated using a biocenometer in three areas differing in the level of pollution with emissions from the Middle Ural Copper Smelter (Revda, Sverdlovsk oblast) in 2006 and 2007. As the smelter is approached, the total amount of phytomass (dry weight) decreases by a factor of 1.3–1.9, with the proportion of grasses reaching 100%; the total abundance of invertebrates increases two-to threefold due to sucking phytophages, which account for up to 80% of the invertebrate community. The abundance of gnawing phytophages near the smelter is reduced, with some taxa entirely missing (e.g., mollusks and phalangiid harvestmen). Rearrangements in chortobiont community structure are attributable to changes in the physiological state of plants and in the species diversity and architecture of the herbaceous layer, with consequent modification of hydrothermal conditions in it, as well as by the direct toxic effect of heavy metals.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 11, 2009
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