Our recent research has clearly documented diversity patterns of arthropods and more specifically, oribatid mites in ancient temperate rainforests where local richness (alpha diversity) is higher on the ground and species turnover (beta diversity) is higher in the canopy. This project will investigate diversity patterns over multiple spatial scales within and across ancient forest watersheds using a hierarchical analysis to increase our understanding of how alpha and beta diversity change across spatial scales (ie. tree crowns to watersheds).
Our study area is the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biodiversity Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, and includes sampling from five watershed estuaries: Sydney (49º30’72”N, 126º17’60”W), Watta (49º27’20”N, 126º01’94”W), Moyeha (49º24’69”N, 125º54’87”W), Bulson (49º15’80”N, 125º43’54”W), and Tranquil (49º12’80”N, 125º40’33”W). Estuaries were chosen by the presence of large Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.) trees within the alluvial flood plain.
All canopy access, suspended soil sampling, and processing of samples have been tested and successfully used over the past 10 years in our previous temperate and tropical canopy projects.