Sefton Park, Liverpool

Collembolan Diversity in Research

Springtails are of increasing interest to researchers around the world with numerous papers having already been published. It is these studies that will help to direct the project and act as a point of comparison for our findings.

By way of an example i have recently come across this work by Milano et al…, Collembolan biodiversity in Mediterranean urban parks: Impact of history, urbanization, management and soil characteristics published January 2017, which complements our own project. The extract reads;

Urban parks provide esthetic and recreational services and improve the quality of life in cities. Sometimes considered as biodiversity hot-spots in cities, they are subjected to different management practices which may affect soil biological quality. This is the first study – performed in urban parks of Naples (southern Italy) – aiming to evaluate the effects of park history (age, previous land use of the area and soil origin), urbanization (sealed surface density of park neighborhood), current management (land cover type and litter presence/absence) or soil physico-chemical properties on collembolan communities diversity, as indicators of soil biological quality. Our results showed that the maintenance of specific land cover types and the presence of a litter layer were crucial factors in favoring high collembolan richness in urban parks, likely by ensuring adequate trophic resources and spatial niches. In addition, park age, urban density and previous land use of areas may be involved in shaping collembolan communities. Indeed, the most diverse and structured communities inhabit soils of the oldest urban park, with the lowest surrounding urban density and mild land use change.

The full paper can be found in full on ResearchGate here and is well worth a read. It is interesting that the study should find that old urban parks presented the greatest and most diverse structured communities, Merseyside has a great number of old estates and it will be interesting to see if these findings hold true here.

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