Secondary succession of mesostigmatid soil mites was studied in two types of reclaimed electric power plant waste dumps in Łaziska Górne (Upper Silesia, Poland) in 1997–1998. The dumps on which the studies were carried out differed in their construction and structure. We sampled 6 sites from 2 localities (Sites I–III and IV–VI), representing 3 stages of ecological succession. The sites differed floristically and in substrate physiochemistry i.e. organic carbon content (Corg) and total nitrogen (Nt). Site I representing pioneer stage was characterized by a poorly developed herb layer, a lack of trees and shrubs, and low Corg, Nt and humus content. Sites III, V and VI represented a pre-forest stage and were characterized by a larger number of plant species, higher percent cover of trees and shrubs, and high Corg, Nt and humus content. Sites II and IV represented an intermediate stages of succession. In 18 months, we took 540 samples of soil and litter, and we collected 4811 mites, assigned to 86 species of mesostigmatid mites. The mite communities differed between successional stages, mostly with respect to the relative dominance among species. At the pioneer stage of succession, the mite community was characterized by a “degraded” model of species abundance distribution, with a high dominance of Asca bicornis. At more advanced ecological stages (Sites III, V and VI), mite communities had similarities with communities of forest. Some of the most abundant species in Sites III, V and VI were typical forest inhabitants. Sites I–III represent a real succession of plant communities, soil development and mite communities, showing an increase in species richness of mites, diversity indices and of the number of dominant species (creative type of succession). The succession within Sites IV–VI reveals a different course (rise-and-fall).
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