Interactions between saproxylic insects and consequences for dead wood decomposition
PIs: Heike Feldhaar (U Bayreuth), Jörg Müller (U Würzburg), David Donoso (Esc. Politécnica Nacional)
Dead wood decomposition plays an important role in nutrient cycling. In the tropics, insects contribute greatly to dead wood decomposition. Here predominantly termites, beetles and ants together with fungi drive the decay process in complex interactions. Since the degradation of tropical forests affects the diversity and abundance of these decomposing organisms, the decomposition process should be affected as well.
We will study community reassembly within dead wood in dependence of wood traits along the forest recovery gradient. We will focus on potential interactions (priortiy effects and potential competitive exclusion) among the different groups of decomposers in shaping the communities using co-occurrence and network analyses. We will conduct an insect exclusion experiment to disentangle the contribution of the different insect groups to the wood decomposition process.
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