Arthropod biodiversity patterns point to the Mesovoid Shallow Substratum (MSS) as a climate refugium
The determinants of biodiversity patterns in the subterranean habitat called Mesovoid Shallow Substratum (MSS) are not well-understood. In this study, thirty-three scree slopes at high altitudes were selected across the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in central Spain to investigate the effect of ten environmental variables on the abundance and species diversity of the spider and springtail assemblages from the colluvial MSS. In each locality, a multiperforated PVC tube with a pitfall trap inside was buried up to 1 m deep, and generalized linear models and Mantel tests were used to analyze the effect of mainly climate- and habitat-related variables on the diversity patterns of both taxa. A total of 1143 individual spiders belonging to 54 species and 40 811 springtail individuals belonging to 62 species were collected. The analyses indicated that cold temperatures and the presence of forest cover on the surface significantly enhance richness and abundance in the two taxa. Environmental similarity also had a small positive effect on faunistic similarity. However, the effects of temperature and habitat detected on spider richness and abundance were stronger than on springtails, whereas the reverse was found regarding faunistic similarity. These results indicate that subterranean dwellers respond differently to the same environmental factors, which in turn, points to a different degree of affinity for the MSS.