Karst dolines provide diverse microhabitats for different functional groups in multiple phyla
Bátori, Zoltán ; Vojtkó, András ; Maák, István Elek ; Lőrinczi, Gábor ; Farkas, Tünde ; Kántor, Noémi ; Tanács, Eszter ; Kiss, Péter János et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16164
Fine-scale topographic complexity creates important microclimates that can facilitate species to grow outside their main distributional range and increase biodiversity locally. Enclosed depressions in karst landscapes (‘dolines’) are topographically complex environments which produce microclimates that are drier and warmer (equator-facing slopes) and cooler and moister (pole-facing slopes and depression bottoms) than the surrounding climate. We show that the distribution patterns of functional groups for organisms in two different phyla, Arthropoda (ants) and Tracheophyta (vascular plants), mirror this variation of microclimate. We found that north-facing slopes and bottoms of solution dolines in northern Hungary provided key habitats for ant and plant species associated with cooler and/or moister conditions. Contrarily, south-facing slopes of dolines provided key habitats for species associated with warmer and/or drier conditions. Species occurring on the surrounding plateau were associated with intermediate conditions. We conclude that karst dolines provide a diversity of microclimatic habitats that may facilitate the persistence of taxa with diverse environmental preferences, indicating these dolines to be potential safe havens for multiple phyla under local and global climate oscillations.