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Environmental drivers of local abundance-mass scaling in soil animal communities

Cite this dataset

Antunes, Ana Carolina et al. (2022). Environmental drivers of local abundance-mass scaling in soil animal communities [Dataset]. Dryad.


The relationship between species’ body masses and densities is strongly conserved around a three-quarter power law when pooling data across communities. However, studies of local within-community relationships have revealed major deviations from this general pattern, which has profound implications for their stability and functioning. Despite multiple contributions of soil communities to people, there is limited knowledge on the drivers of body mass-abundance relationships in these communities. We compiled a dataset comprising 155 soil-animal communities across four countries (Canada, Germany, Indonesia, USA), all sampled using the same methodology. We tested if variation in local climatic and edaphic conditions drives differences in local body mass-abundance scaling relationships. We found substantial variation in the slopes of this power-law relationship across local communities. Structural equation modeling showed that soil temperature and water content have a positive and negative net effect, respectively, on soil communities. These effects are mediated by changes in local edaphic conditions (soil pH and carbon content) and the body-mass range of the communities. These results highlight ways in which alterations of soil climatic and edaphic conditions interactively impact the distribution of abundance between populations of small and large animals. These quantitative mechanistic relationships facilitate our understanding of how global changes in environmental conditions, such as temperature and precipitation, will affect community-abundance distributions and thus the stability and functioning of soil-animal communities.


ERA-Net BiodivERsA - Belmont Forum call (project FutureWeb)

European Research Council, Award: 677232

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: FZT 118

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: BR 2315/22-1

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: 192626868 – SFB 990

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: Ei 862/29-1