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Winter adaptations of the leaf litter and soil arthropod Collembola OR: Are these guys living amongst us? Jeff McClenahan March, 2006 Winter Ecology –

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Presentation on theme: "Winter adaptations of the leaf litter and soil arthropod Collembola OR: Are these guys living amongst us? Jeff McClenahan March, 2006 Winter Ecology –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Winter adaptations of the leaf litter and soil arthropod Collembola OR: Are these guys living amongst us? Jeff McClenahan March, 2006 Winter Ecology – Spring 2006 Mountain Research Station – University of Colorado, Boulder

2 What are Collembola, and why the heck do we care?  Primitive, wingless, non-insect Hexapods  Leaf litter decomposers  Diets composed of fungi and algae* *Verhoef et al., 1988

3 Components of winter ecology we have seen  Adaptations to cold  Evidence of biotic soil activity  Below-snow temperatures that support life  The Antarctic is cold

4 Winter active species Ceratophsella sigillata*  Temperature dependent dormancy during summer  Main growing season is winter  Uses antifreeze molecules in algae: polyols *Zettel, 2000

5 Glycerol production in Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni*  Produced via hydrolysis of triaclglycerols  Able to enter the glycolytic pathway with help of ATP  High concentration in October and lower in January (Antarctic)  Measured super cooling point (SCP) as low as -38 degrees C *Sinclair and Sjursen, 2001

6 Partial desiccation in Onychiurus articus*  Long periods of -2.5 degrees C, resulting in reduced water content  Lowered SCP from -6.1 to degrees C  Gained normal body weight within 24 hours when water was available *Worland, 1996

7 Brief look at the process of ecdysis

8 Unexpected role of ecdysis in Tullbergia antarctica*  Ametabolous ecdysis: sheds cuticle throughout life, even after adulthood  Sheds cuticle as a means to rid themselves of ice *Worland, 2005

9 What does this all mean?  Arthropods where we don’t expect them?  9000 named species  Inhabit high elevations and high latitudes  Evidence suggests that these winter systems are dynamic Alpine tundra? Sub-alpine forests?

10 Cited references  Sinclair BJ and Sjursen H Cold tolerance of the Antarctic springtail Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni. Antarctic Science 13:  Worland MR The relationship between water content and cold tolerance in the arctic collembolan Onychiurus arcticus. European Journal of Entomology 93:  Worland MR Factors that influence freezing in the sub-Antarctic springtail Tullbergia antarctica. Journal of Insect Physiology 51:  Verhoef HA, Prast JE, Verweij RA Relative importance of Fungi and Algae in the diet and nitrogen nutrition of Orchesella cincta and Tomocerus minor. Functional Ecology 2:  Zettel J Alpine Collembola-adaptations and strategies for survival in harsh conditions. Zoology-Analysis of Complex Systems 102:73-89


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