Mites’ functional biodiversity in terraced vineyards of Cinque Terre National Park


Abstract: Cultural tendencies to simplify ecosystems caused the loss of the genetic diversity as represented by species but also as structural and functional biodiversity. Along the Ligurian Sea, in Cinque Terre National Park, terraced hills managed for viticulture are declared UNESCO Cultural Heritage site. As contribution to knowledge of the biodiversity, the present study on mites can be considered a key reading as bioindication in this agroecosystem to assess quality in viticulture, stability in soils and regulation of pests and diseases.Mite groups, expressing high functional diversity, are usually the most abundant groups of microarthropods in soil and can highly colonize plant in temperate ecosystems. The study started by the evaluation of the acarofauna on grapevines in five vineyards, from 50 to 400m ASL (Manarola, Corniolo, Fossola, Groppo, Porciana). On the whole, grapevine pruned woods and leaves were sampled from autumn 2007 to autumn 2008. Five samplings of soil mite communities were taken from autumn 2008 to autumn 2010. For each site, the epigeic and edaphic acarofauna was determined at family or specific level. All abundances were determined and analyzed by Anova; the community structure was characterized on the basis of different functional mite groups: detritivorous/saprophagous, mycophagous, phytophagous, predators, others.In all leaves sampled, very high presence of predator mites, mainly phytoseiids, was registered: they represented about 95% of the acarofauna. As regards the phytoseiids, the adults represented about 60% of population, the most frequent and abundant species was Kampimodromus aberrans, followed by Typhlodromus pyri, T. finitimus and T. exhilaratus. The presence of tydeiids, mites with less specialized feeding habits, was about 6%.Soil mite community represented the main group (56.6%) of total microarthropods collected (> 6,700 specimens). The group of detritivorous/saprophagous was the most represented (> 70%), while mycophagous and predators ranged between 12 and 16%.By considering soil mites, the group of oribatids was the most abundant and affected by sampling sites (F4,111 = 3.38; P = 0.012). Twenty-seven families and 42 species of oribatids were identified, 20 families of Prostigmata and 9 of Mesostigmata with 29 species. Both density, diversity and functional diversity of Acari here registered were higher than in similarly managed agroecosystems.Considering both aerial and edaphic levels, the analysis of functional mite groups performed in Cinque Terre Park, can be considered an efficient tool in the evaluation of quality and management of the ecosysytem.

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