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  • 1 University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
  • | 2 University of Trieste, Via L. Giorgieri 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
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The land mollusc faunas of three forest areas of Tuscany (central Italy) were sampled to test the effect of geographical and environmental factors on the structure of biodiversity. A total of 60 sites were surveyed in the years 2009-2011, recording species richness and abundance of snails in 400 m2 plots randomly selected in beech and oak woods. Sampling strategy relied on a combination of visual search and litter analysis. Environmental variables (topsoil pH and altitude) and UTM coordinates were recorded to detect relationships with species richness and number of individuals per plot. Abundance data were analyzed using non-metric multidimensional scaling and canonical correspondence analysis; faunal similarity within and between areas was computed by the Bray Curtis index and snail assemblages of the two forest types were compared. A total of 55 species were recorded, with low values of local richness and abundance per site compared to other forest sites in central and northern Europe. Total richness was similar in the three areas, but composition and local richness varied significantly between them. Geographical factors explained the highest percentage of variance, while habitat type, altitude and pH only accounted for a minor part. Internal similarity was greater than between-area similarity in two out of three areas. Beech forests had richer and more heterogeneous faunas, but lower levels of abundance than oak woods. The results are discussed in terms of historical biogeography and local environmental conditions, and compared with those from similar surveys across Europe.

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Community Ecology
Language English
Size A4
Year of
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Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
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Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1585-8553 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2756 (Online)