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Impacts of detritivore diversity loss on instream decomposition are greatest in the tropics


Boyero, L and Lopez-Rojo, N and Tonin, AM and Perez, J and Correa-Araneda, F and Pearson, RG and Bosch, J and Albarino, RJ and Anbalagan, S and Barmuta, LA and Basaguren, A and Burdon, FJ and Caliman, A and Callisto, M and Calor, AR and Campbell, IC and Cardinale, BJ and Jesus Casas, J and Chara -Serna, AM and Chauvet, E and Ciapala, S and Colon-Gaud, C and Cornejo, A and Davis, AM and Degebrodt, M and Dias, ES and Diaz, ME and Douglas, MM and Encalada, AC and Figueroa, R and Flecker, AS and Fleituch, T and Garcia, EA and Garcia, G and Garcia, PE and Gessner, MO and Gomez, JE and Gomez, S and Goncalves, JF and Graca, MAS and Gwinn, DC and Hall, RO and Hamada, N and Hui, C and Imazawa, D and Iwata, T and Kariuki, SK and Landeira-Dabarca, A and Laymon, K and Leal, M and Marchant, R and Martins, RT and Masese, FO and Maul, M and Maul, BG and Medeiros, AO and Erimba, CMM and Middleton, JA and Monroy, S and Muotka, T and Negishi, JN and Ramirez, A and Richardson, JS and Rincon, J and Rubio-Rios, J and dos Santos, GM and Sarremejane, R and Sheldon, F and Sitati, A and Tenkiano, NSD and Tiegs, SD and Tolod, JR and Venarsky, M and Watson, A and Yule, CM, Impacts of detritivore diversity loss on instream decomposition are greatest in the tropics, Nature Communications, 12, (1) pp. 1-11. ISSN 0028-0836 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-021-23930-2


The relationship between detritivore diversity and decomposition can provide information on how biogeochemical cycles are affected by ongoing rates of extinction, but such evidence has come mostly from local studies and microcosm experiments. We conducted a globally distributed experiment (38 streams across 23 countries in 6 continents) using standardised methods to test the hypothesis that detritivore diversity enhances litter decomposition in streams, to establish the role of other characteristics of detritivore assemblages (abundance, biomass and body size), and to determine how patterns vary across realms, biomes and climates. We observed a positive relationship between diversity and decomposition, strongest in tropical areas, and a key role of abundance and biomass at higher latitudes. Our results suggest that litter decomposition might be altered by detritivore extinctions, particularly in tropical areas, where detritivore diversity is already relatively low and some environmental stressors particularly prevalent. It is unclear whether stream detritivore diversity enhances decomposition across climates. Here the authors manipulate litter diversity and examine detritivore assemblages in a globally distributed stream litterbag experiment, finding a positive diversity-decomposition relationship stronger in tropical streams, where detritivore diversity is lower.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fresh-water macroinvertebrates, leaf-litter breakdown, species richness, mass relationships, stream, length, biodiversity, leaves, invertebrates, regressions
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Freshwater ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Barmuta, LA (Associate Professor Leon Barmuta)
ID Code:152874
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-08-25
Last Modified:2022-09-29

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