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Citation. Nicolai, V. 1991. Reactions of the fauna on the bark of trees to the frequency of fires in a North American savanna. Oecologia 88:132-137. [1453 E133 CC]
Summary. The arthropod communities living on the bark of the oak species Quercus macrocarpa and Q. ellipsoidalis were investigated in a North American oak savanna. Differences were found in the community structure of the arthropods living on the bark of these two tree species, although they have the same fissured bark type. In the North American oak savanna ecosystem the most important disturbance factor is fire, which maintains species richness. Highest numbers of species and specimens were found at moderately disturbed sites. Three main ecological groups of arthropods living on the bark of trees can be distinguished in relation to the degree of disturbance: (I) Inhabitants of bark of trees restricted to undisturbed sites: they do not occur in fire-disturbed areas; (2) Inhabitants of bark of trees adapted to a moderate degree of disturbance: many species occur in high numbers only in moderately disturbed areas; and (3) Specialist inhabitants of bark of trees in heavily disturbed areas. The number of specimens of these species increases per trunk with the frequency of disturbance.
Keywords. Fire, Oak savanna, Tree bark, Arthropod fauna, North America