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Caucasiana journal published the paper of the scientist of MSE Zoology Institute

The paper entitled "Successions of  communities during the Tsey Glacier retreat, Central Caucasus" by Natalya Sneqovaya, a senior researcher of the Laboratory of Terrestrial Invertebrates, Doctor of biological sciences, Assoc.Prof., co-authored with foreign peers, has been published on the journal "Caucasiana".

Abstract of the paper is given below:

In the Caucasus, the total area taken up by glaciers is known to have reduced by 23% over the last 20 years. This natural experiment allows for additive and replacement models of autogenic succession of biocoenoses within paraglacial landscapes to be tested. A certain risk of the extinction of cryophilic species also exists. However, montane paraglacial successions of invertebrate assemblages have hitherto been studied neither in the Caucasus nor in Russia as a whole. Structural changes of taxocoenoses were traced in a spatial and temporal sequence of ten properly dated paraglacial sites in the Tsey Gorge, North Ossetia − Alania (1–170-years old) among the testate amoebae, earthworms, molluscs, myriapods, mites, spiders, harvestmen, pseudoscorpions, collembolans, and beetles. As the glacier retreats, in place of bare paraglacial wastelands, grassland communities are formed that, after 10–14 years, are replaced by shrub vegetation and, on 30–35-year old surfaces, by forest communities. Most of the invertebrate groups, once “appearing” along a postglacial transect, were recorded from most older plots as well. Yet, their taxocoenoses underwent considerable transformations through increasing (or an increase turning into some decline in beetles) the species diversity and a strong, often complete change in the taxonomic composition and dominance structure. The most considerable transformations were observed at all major vegetation changes. The “appearance” of some groups in the transect was determined not only by dispersion capacities but mainly by the environmental conditions of particular habitats. When comparing the composition of the pioneer postglacial species complex of the study region with that in the mountains of Europe’s south and north, its high-degree regional specificity was noted, sometimes shown at the family level (in spiders). Spatial β-diversity of all larger taxa studied was mainly attributed to turnover (due to “the replacement model” of succession). The general level of change diminished towards the later succession stages. Endemic arthropod species were revealed both in pioneer grassland and developed forest communities.Paper