Trophic niche differentiation and utilisation of food resources in Collembola is altered by rainforest conversion to plantation systems.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,433 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

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Abstract :

Intensively managed monoculture plantations are increasingly replacing natural forests across the tropics resulting in changes in ecological niches of species and communities, and in ecosystem functioning. Collembola are among the most abundant arthropods inhabiting the belowground system sensitively responding to changes in vegetation and soil conditions. However, most studies on the response of Collembola to land-use change were conducted in temperate ecosystems and focused on shifts in community composition or morphological traits, while parameters more closely linked to ecosystem functioning, such as trophic niches, received little attention. Here, we used stable isotope analysis (.sup.13 C and.sup. 15 N) to investigate changes in the trophic structure and use of food resources by Collembola in Jambi province (Sumatra, Indonesia), a region that experienced strong deforestation in the last decades. Isotopic values of Collembola from 32 sites representing four land-use systems were analyzed (rainforest, rubber agroforest, rubber (Hevea brasiliansis) and oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) monoculture plantations). Across Collembola species [DELTA].sup.13 C values were highest in rainforest suggesting more pronounced processing of litter resources by microorganisms and consumption of these microorganisms by Collembola in this system. Lower [DELTA].sup.13 C values, but high [DELTA].sup.13 C variation in Collembola in oil palm plantations indicated that Collembola shifted towards herbivory and used more variable resources in this system. Small range in [DELTA].sup.15 N values in Collembola species in monoculture plantations in comparison to rainforest indicated that conversion of rainforest into plantations is associated with simplification in the trophic structure of Collembola communities. This was further confirmed by generally lower isotopic niche differentiation among species in plantations. Across the studied ecosystems, atmobiotic species (Symphypleona and Paronellidae) occupied the lowest, whereas euedaphic Collembola species occupied the highest trophic position, resembling patterns in temperate forests. Some species of Paronellidae in rainforest and jungle rubber had [DELTA].sup.15 N values below those of leaf litter suggesting algivory (Salina sp.1, Callyntrura sp.1 and Lepidonella sp.1), while a dominant species, Pseudosinella sp.1, had the highest [DELTA].sup.15 N values in most of the land-use systems suggesting that this species at least in part lives as predator or scavenger. Overall, the results suggest that rainforest conversion into plantation systems is associated with marked shifts in the structure of trophic niches in soil and litter Collembola with potential consequences for ecosystem functioning and food-web stability.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A653503948