Assemblage level variation in springtail lower lethal temperature: the role of invasive species on sub-Antarctic Marion Island
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It is widely held both in the physiological literature, and more generally, that the average characteristics of species within an assemblage differ among sites. Such generalizations should be based on investigations of whole assemblages at sites, but this is rarely done. Here, such a study is undertaken for virtually the full assemblage of springtails found at sub-Antarctic Marion Island, by investigating supercooling points (SCPs) of 12 of the 16 species that occur there. Assemblage level variation tends to be less than that documented for assemblages across northern hemisphere sites but similar to that found at some Antarctic locations. Across this set of species, the mean SCPs of the indigenous species (mean ± SE =−17.2 ± 0.4 °C) do not differ significantly from that of the invasive species (−16.3 ± 0.7°C). Overall, the introduction of several species to the island does not appear to have led to functional homogenization (for this trait). By combining the assemblage-level SCP data with information on the abundances of the species in each of four major habitats, it is also shown that severe but uncommon low temperature events could substantially alter species relative abundances. By resetting assemblage trajectories, such events could play an important role in the terrestrial system at the island.