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Physical Geography of Northern Eurasia

Biodiversity and Productivity of Ecosystems

<<< Spatial Patterns of Microbial Communities | Physical Geography Index | The Present and Future of Biodiversity of Northern Eurasia >>>

Geography of Animal Communities

The trophic structure of animal communities and zoomass correlate closely with distributions of other components of organic matter and NPP in both zonal (Chernov et al., 1967) and mountainous (Zlotin, 1975,1978) ecosystems. There is also a strong correlation between members of trophic chains and the availability of organic matter for consumption (i.e., between phytophages and NPP, herbivores and green phytomass, saprophages and plant fall, predators and their prey). The ratio of both maximum biomass of phytophages and NPP, and maximum biomass of predators and their prey is about 1/100 and varies little between biomes. Variability in the primary to secondary production ratio is small because in the process of transfer of energy from one trophic level to another 90 per cent of energy stored on the lower level is lost. The total production of animal populations comprises about 0.5-2.0 per cent of annual primary production in most biomes (i.e., tundra, forests, grasslands, and deserts) (Zlotin, 1975).

Every biome in Northern Eurasia has a specific animal community whose structure changes with respect to MAI (Table 7.4).

Structure of animal communities

Table 7.4 Structure of animal communities.
* All taxonomic groups of animals except protozoans. Source: Zlotin and Bazilevich (1993).

The share of vertebrates and animals living above the ground increases southwards from humid to arid ecosystems, as well as the importance of two trophic groups of consumers (herbivores and carnivores). The share of saprotrophic invertebrates is greater in humid ecosystems.

<<< Spatial Patterns of Microbial Communities | Physical Geography Index | The Present and Future of Biodiversity of Northern Eurasia >>>




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