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The value of trophic interactions for ecosystem function: dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests

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The value of trophic interactions for ecosystem function : dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests. / Griffiths, Hannah; Bardgett, Richard David; Louzada, Julio Neil; Barlow, Bernard Josiah.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 283, No. 1844, 20161634, 14.12.2016.

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@article{2845791da6cb479eafd9b09df0177ae5,
title = "The value of trophic interactions for ecosystem function: dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests",
abstract = "Anthropogenic activities are causing species extinctions, raising concerns about the consequences of changing biological communities for ecosystem functioning. To address this, we investigated how dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in the Brazilian Amazon. First, we conducted a burial and retrieval experiment using seed mimics. We found that dung beetle biomass had a stronger positive effect on the burial of large than small beads, suggesting that anthropogenic reductions in large-bodied beetles will have the greatest effect on the secondary dispersal of large-seeded plant species. Second, we established mesocosm experiments in which dung beetle communities buried Myrciaria dubia seeds to examine plant emergence and survival. Contrary to expectations, we found that beetle diversity and biomass negatively influenced seedling emergence, but positively affected the survival of seedlings that emerged. Finally, we conducted germination trials to establish the optimum burial depth of experimental seeds, revealing a negative relationship between burial depth and seedling emergence success. Our results provide novel evidence that seed burial by dung beetles may be detrimental for the emergence of some seed species. However, we also detected positive impacts of beetle activity on seedling recruitment, which are probably because of their influence on soil properties. Overall, this study provides new evidence that anthropogenic impacts on dung beetle communities could influence the structure of tropical forests; in particular, their capacity to regenerate and continue to provide valuable functions and services.",
keywords = "plant recruitment, biodiversity–ecosystem functioning, soil, ecosystem processes, defaunation",
author = "Hannah Griffiths and Bardgett, {Richard David} and Louzada, {Julio Neil} and Barlow, {Bernard Josiah}",
year = "2016",
month = dec
day = "14",
doi = "10.1098/rspb.2016.1634",
language = "English",
volume = "283",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0962-8452",
publisher = "Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing",
number = "1844",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The value of trophic interactions for ecosystem function

T2 - dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests

AU - Griffiths, Hannah

AU - Bardgett, Richard David

AU - Louzada, Julio Neil

AU - Barlow, Bernard Josiah

PY - 2016/12/14

Y1 - 2016/12/14

N2 - Anthropogenic activities are causing species extinctions, raising concerns about the consequences of changing biological communities for ecosystem functioning. To address this, we investigated how dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in the Brazilian Amazon. First, we conducted a burial and retrieval experiment using seed mimics. We found that dung beetle biomass had a stronger positive effect on the burial of large than small beads, suggesting that anthropogenic reductions in large-bodied beetles will have the greatest effect on the secondary dispersal of large-seeded plant species. Second, we established mesocosm experiments in which dung beetle communities buried Myrciaria dubia seeds to examine plant emergence and survival. Contrary to expectations, we found that beetle diversity and biomass negatively influenced seedling emergence, but positively affected the survival of seedlings that emerged. Finally, we conducted germination trials to establish the optimum burial depth of experimental seeds, revealing a negative relationship between burial depth and seedling emergence success. Our results provide novel evidence that seed burial by dung beetles may be detrimental for the emergence of some seed species. However, we also detected positive impacts of beetle activity on seedling recruitment, which are probably because of their influence on soil properties. Overall, this study provides new evidence that anthropogenic impacts on dung beetle communities could influence the structure of tropical forests; in particular, their capacity to regenerate and continue to provide valuable functions and services.

AB - Anthropogenic activities are causing species extinctions, raising concerns about the consequences of changing biological communities for ecosystem functioning. To address this, we investigated how dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in the Brazilian Amazon. First, we conducted a burial and retrieval experiment using seed mimics. We found that dung beetle biomass had a stronger positive effect on the burial of large than small beads, suggesting that anthropogenic reductions in large-bodied beetles will have the greatest effect on the secondary dispersal of large-seeded plant species. Second, we established mesocosm experiments in which dung beetle communities buried Myrciaria dubia seeds to examine plant emergence and survival. Contrary to expectations, we found that beetle diversity and biomass negatively influenced seedling emergence, but positively affected the survival of seedlings that emerged. Finally, we conducted germination trials to establish the optimum burial depth of experimental seeds, revealing a negative relationship between burial depth and seedling emergence success. Our results provide novel evidence that seed burial by dung beetles may be detrimental for the emergence of some seed species. However, we also detected positive impacts of beetle activity on seedling recruitment, which are probably because of their influence on soil properties. Overall, this study provides new evidence that anthropogenic impacts on dung beetle communities could influence the structure of tropical forests; in particular, their capacity to regenerate and continue to provide valuable functions and services.

KW - plant recruitment

KW - biodiversity–ecosystem functioning

KW - soil

KW - ecosystem processes

KW - defaunation

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2016.1634

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2016.1634

M3 - Journal article

VL - 283

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8452

IS - 1844

M1 - 20161634

ER -