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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Feb, 2013, Vol.57, p.327(7)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.08.013 Byline: Bernhard Klarner, Mark Maraun, Stefan Scheu Abstract: A large number of predatory mesostigmatid mite species populate forest soils in high densities. The present study investigates the trophic structure of the Mesostigmata community of old growth beech stands in Central Germany and identifies potential prey groups using natural variations in stable isotope ratios (.sup.13C/.sup.12C and.sup.15N/.sup.14N). Data on relative abundances and body mass were included for each of the 40 species studied to analyze functional aspects in Mesostigmata feeding ecology. The results indicate that Mesostigmata predominantly feed on secondary decomposers, whereas primary decomposer and intra-guild prey are of minor importance. Dominant species featured high [delta].sup.13C signatures suggesting that they predominantly feed on species relying on root derived resources such as bacterial feeding nematodes. Less abundant species where characterized by lower [delta].sup.13C values suggesting that they predominantly feed on prey relying on litter derived resources such as fungal feeding Collembola. Related taxa often had distinctively different isotope ratios suggesting that trophic niche partitioning facilitates coexistence of morphologically similar species. Unexpectedly, the trophic position of Mesostigmata species was not related to body size reflecting the varying trophic position of their main prey, nematodes and Collembola, suggesting that body size is a poor predictor of trophic position in soil food webs. Author Affiliation: J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Animal Ecology, Georg August University Gottingen, Berliner Str. 28, 37073 Gottingen, Germany Article History: Received 29 May 2012; Revised 7 August 2012; Accepted 10 August 2012
    Keywords: Soil Structure -- Analysis ; Roundworms -- Analysis ; Forest Soils -- Analysis
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 2
    In: Oikos, October 2014, Vol.123(10), pp.1173-1181
    Description: Anthropogenic land use shapes the dynamics and composition of central European forests and changes the quality and availability of resources of the decomposer system. These changes likely alter the structure and functioning of soil animal food webs. Using stable isotope analysis (C, N) we investigated the trophic position and resource use of soil animal species in each of four forest types (coniferous, young managed beech, old managed beech and unmanaged beech forests) across three regions in Germany. Twenty‐eight species of soil invertebrates were analyzed covering three consumer levels and a representative spectrum of feeding types and morphologies. Data on stable isotope signatures of leaf litter, fine roots and soil were included to evaluate to which extent signatures of soil animals vary with those of local resources. Soil animal δN and δC signatures varied with the respective signatures of leaf litter and fine roots. After calibration to leaf litter signatures, soil animal stable isotope signatures of the different beech forests did not differ significantly. However, thick leaf litter layers, such as those in coniferous forests, were associated with low animal stable isotope signatures presumably due to reduced access of decomposer animals to root‐derived resources, suggesting that the decomposer food web is shifted towards leaf litter based energy pathways with the shift affecting all consumer levels. Variation in stable isotope signatures of soil animal species with litter quality parameters suggests that nutrition of third level but not first and second level consumers is related to litter quality, potentially due to microorganisms locking up litter resources thereby hampering their propagation to higher trophic levels.
    Keywords: Fine Roots ; Coniferous Forests ; Nutrition ; Food Animals ; Fagus ; Soil Invertebrates ; Food Webs ; Stable Isotopes ; Plant Litter ; Land Use ; Energy ; Microorganisms;
    ISSN: 0030-1299
    E-ISSN: 1600-0706
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Oikos, 2014, Vol.123(10), p.1157(16)
    Description: To purchase or authenticate to the full-text of this article, please visit this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/oik.00865/abstract Byline: Christoph Digel, Alva Curtsdotter, Jens Riede, Bernhard Klarner, Ulrich Brose Food web topologies depict the community structure as distributions of feeding interactions across populations. Although the soil ecosystem provides important functions for aboveground ecosystems, data on complex soil food webs is notoriously scarce, most likely due to the difficulty of sampling and characterizing the system. To fill this gap we assembled the complex food webs of 48 forest soil communities. The food webs comprise 89 to 168 taxa and 729 to 3344 feeding interactions. The feeding links were established by combining several molecular methods (stable isotope, fatty acid and molecular gut content analyses) with feeding trials and literature data. First, we addressed whether soil food webs (n = 48) differ significantly from those of other ecosystem types (aquatic and terrestrial aboveground, n = 77) by comparing 22 food web parameters. We found that our soil food webs are characterized by many omnivorous and cannibalistic species, more trophic chains and intraguild-predation motifs than other food webs and high average and maximum trophic levels. Despite this, we also found that soil food webs have a similar connectance as other ecosystems, but interestingly a higher link density and clustering coefficient. These differences in network structure to other ecosystem types may be a result of ecosystem specific constraints on hunting and feeding characteristics of the species that emerge as network parameters at the food-web level. In a second analysis of land-use effects, we found significant but only small differences of soil food web structure between different beech and coniferous forest types, which may be explained by generally strong selection effects of the soil that are independent of human land use. Overall, our study has unravelled some systematic structures of soil food-webs, which extends our mechanistic understanding how environmental characteristics of the soil ecosystem determine patterns at the community level.
    Keywords: Soil Structure – Analysis ; Forest Soils – Analysis
    ISSN: 0030-1299
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Soil biology & biochemistry, 2013, Vol.57, pp.327-333
    Description: A large number of predatory mesostigmatid mite species populate forest soils in high densities. The present study investigates the trophic structure of the Mesostigmata community of old growth beech stands in Central Germany and identifies potential prey groups using natural variations in stable isotope ratios (¹³C/¹²C and ¹⁵N/¹⁴N). Data on relative abundances and body mass were included for each of the 40 species studied to analyze functional aspects in Mesostigmata feeding ecology. The results indicate that Mesostigmata predominantly feed on secondary decomposers, whereas primary decomposer and intra-guild prey are of minor importance. Dominant species featured high δ¹³C signatures suggesting that they predominantly feed on species relying on root derived resources such as bacterial feeding nematodes. Less abundant species where characterized by lower δ¹³C values suggesting that they predominantly feed on prey relying on litter derived resources such as fungal feeding Collembola. Related taxa often had distinctively different isotope ratios suggesting that trophic niche partitioning facilitates coexistence of morphologically similar species. Unexpectedly, the trophic position of Mesostigmata species was not related to body size reflecting the varying trophic position of their main prey, nematodes and Collembola, suggesting that body size is a poor predictor of trophic position in soil food webs. ; p. 327-333.
    Keywords: Forests ; Forest Soils ; Collembola ; Fungi ; Fagus Sylvatica Subsp. Sylvatica ; Mesostigmata ; Mites ; Body Size ; Stable Isotopes ; Soil Food Webs ; Nematoda
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    Source: AGRIS (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, February 2013, Vol.57, pp.327-333
    Description: A large number of predatory mesostigmatid mite species populate forest soils in high densities. The present study investigates the trophic structure of the Mesostigmata community of old growth beech stands in Central Germany and identifies potential prey groups using natural variations in stable isotope ratios ( C/ C and N/ N). Data on relative abundances and body mass were included for each of the 40 species studied to analyze functional aspects in Mesostigmata feeding ecology. The results indicate that Mesostigmata predominantly feed on secondary decomposers, whereas primary decomposer and intra-guild prey are of minor importance. Dominant species featured high δ C signatures suggesting that they predominantly feed on species relying on root derived resources such as bacterial feeding nematodes. Less abundant species where characterized by lower δ C values suggesting that they predominantly feed on prey relying on litter derived resources such as fungal feeding Collembola. Related taxa often had distinctively different isotope ratios suggesting that trophic niche partitioning facilitates coexistence of morphologically similar species. Unexpectedly, the trophic position of Mesostigmata species was not related to body size reflecting the varying trophic position of their main prey, nematodes and Collembola, suggesting that body size is a poor predictor of trophic position in soil food webs. ► We analyzed variations in stable isotope ratios in 40 Mesostigmata species of beech forests. ► The majority of species occupy distinct trophic niches including closely related species. ► The most important prey comprises secondary decomposers presumably in particular nematodes. ► Trophic level in Mesostigmata correlates little with body size.
    Keywords: Mesostigmata ; Uropodina ; Feeding Ecology ; Stable Isotopes ; Δ13c ; Δ15n ; Body Size ; Abundance ; Trophic Niche ; Agriculture ; Chemistry
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    E-ISSN: 1879-3428
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  • 6
    In: PLoS ONE, 2017, Vol.12(12)
    Description: Mesofauna taxa fill key trophic positions in soil food webs, even in terrestrial–marine boundary habitats characterized by frequent natural disturbances. Salt marshes represent such boundary habitats, characterized by frequent inundations increasing from the terrestrial upper to the marine pioneer zone. Despite the high abundance of soil mesofauna in salt marshes and their important function by facilitating energy and carbon flows, the structure, trophic ecology and habitat-related diet shifts of mesofauna species in natural salt marsh habitats is virtually unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effects of natural disturbance (inundation frequency) on community structure, food web complexity and resource use of soil mesofauna using stable isotope analysis ( 15 N, 13 C) in three salt marsh zones. In this intertidal habitat, the pioneer zone is exposed to inundations twice a day, but lower and upper salt marshes are less frequently inundated based on shore height. The mesofauna comprised 86 species / taxa dominated by Collembola, Oribatida and Mesostigmata. Shifts in environmental disturbances influenced the structure of food webs, diversity and density declined strongly from the land to the sea pointing to the importance of increasing levels of inundation frequency. Accordingly, the reduced diversity and density was associated by a simplification of the food web in the pioneer zone as compared to the less inundated lower and upper salt marsh with a higher number of trophic levels. Strong variations in δ 15 N signatures demonstrated that mesofauna species are feeding at multiple trophic levels. Primary decomposers were low and most mesofauna species functioned as secondary decomposers or predators including second order predators or scavengers. The results document that major decomposer taxa, such as Collembola and Oribatida, are more diverse than previously assumed and predominantly dwell on autochthonous resources of the respective salt marsh zone. The results further suggest that Mesostigmata mostly adopt an intraguild predation lifestyle. The high trophic position of a large number of predators suggests that intraguild predation is of significant importance in salt marsh food webs. Presumably, intraguild predation contributes to stabilizing the salt marsh food web against disturbances.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences ; Physical Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Medicine And Health Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 7
    In: Oikos, October 2014, Vol.123(10), pp.1157-1172
    Description: Food web topologies depict the community structure as distributions of feeding interactions across populations. Although the soil ecosystem provides important functions for aboveground ecosystems, data on complex soil food webs is notoriously scarce, most likely due to the difficulty of sampling and characterizing the system. To fill this gap we assembled the complex food webs of 48 forest soil communities. The food webs comprise 89 to 168 taxa and 729 to 3344 feeding interactions. The feeding links were established by combining several molecular methods (stable isotope, fatty acid and molecular gut content analyses) with feeding trials and literature data. First, we addressed whether soil food webs (n = 48) differ significantly from those of other ecosystem types (aquatic and terrestrial aboveground, n = 77) by comparing 22 food web parameters. We found that our soil food webs are characterized by many omnivorous and cannibalistic species, more trophic chains and intraguild‐predation motifs than other food webs and high average and maximum trophic levels. Despite this, we also found that soil food webs have a similar connectance as other ecosystems, but interestingly a higher link density and clustering coefficient. These differences in network structure to other ecosystem types may be a result of ecosystem specific constraints on hunting and feeding characteristics of the species that emerge as network parameters at the food‐web level. In a second analysis of land‐use effects, we found significant but only small differences of soil food web structure between different beech and coniferous forest types, which may be explained by generally strong selection effects of the soil that are independent of human land use. Overall, our study has unravelled some systematic structures of soil food‐webs, which extends our mechanistic understanding how environmental characteristics of the soil ecosystem determine patterns at the community level.
    Keywords: Soil Structure – Analysis ; Forest Soils – Analysis;
    ISSN: 0030-1299
    E-ISSN: 1600-0706
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  • 8
    In: Ecology, February 2014, Vol.95(2), pp.527-537
    Description: Ecological communities consist of small abundant and large non‐abundant species. The energetic equivalence rule is an often‐observed pattern that could be explained by equal energy usage among abundant small organisms and non‐abundant large organisms. To generate this pattern, metabolism (as an indicator of individual energy use) and abundance have to scale inversely with body mass, and cancel each other out. In contrast, the pattern referred to as biomass equivalence states that the biomass of all species in an area should be constant across the body‐mass range. In this study, we investigated forest soil communities with respect to metabolism, abundance, population energy use, and biomass. We focused on four land‐use types in three different landscape blocks (Biodiversity Exploratories). The soil samples contained 870 species across 12 phylogenetic groups. Our results indicated positive sublinear metabolic scaling and negative sublinear abundance scaling with species body mass. The relationships varied mainly due to differences among phylogenetic groups or feeding types, and only marginally due to land‐use type. However, these scaling relationships were not exactly inverse to each other, resulting in increasing population energy use and biomass with increasing body mass for most combinations of phylogenetic group or feeding type with land‐use type. Thus, our results are mostly inconsistent with the classic perception of energetic equivalence, and reject the biomass equivalence hypothesis while documenting a specific and nonrandom pattern of how abundance, energy use, and biomass are distributed across size classes. However, these patterns are consistent with two alternative predictions: the resource‐thinning hypothesis, which states that abundance decreases with trophic level, and the allometric degree hypothesis, which states that population energy use should increase with population average body mass, due to correlations with the number of links of consumers and resources. Overall, our results suggest that a synthesis of food web structures with metabolic theory may be most promising for predicting natural patterns of abundance, biomass, and energy use.
    Keywords: Abundance ; Allometric Scaling ; Biomass ; Body Mass ; Complex Food Webs ; Land Use ; Metabolic Rate ; Population Energy Use
    ISSN: 0012-9658
    E-ISSN: 1939-9170
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2015, Vol.82, p.28(8)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.12.012 Byline: Olga Ferlian, Bernhard Klarner, Annika E. Langeneckert, Stefan Scheu Abstract: Feeding on a variety of resources, collembolans have been assumed to be food generalists. However, recent stable isotope analyses documented that collembolan species occupy different trophic levels, but detailed studies on species-specific food resources are sparse. Further, it still is little understood whether food resources of collembolan species are constant or shift, e.g., with habitats. Fatty acid (FA) and stable isotope analysis allow insight into utilisation of basal resources and trophic levels of consumers, respectively. We combined these methods to investigate variations in trophic niches of six collembolan species (Lepidocyrtus lanuginosus, Folsomia quadrioculata, Parisotoma notabilis, Ceratophysella denticulata, Isotomiella minor and Protaphorura armata) in beech and spruce forests. We correlated collembolan FAs with that of litter microorganisms at the respective study sites to identify links to resources. FA composition and stable isotope signatures in collembolan species did not differ significantly between forest types but between species suggesting pronounced trophic niche differentiation between species. The trophic niche of C. denticulata and P. armata was similar and significantly differed from the other species with.sup.13C and.sup.15N signatures being least depleted. We suggest that C. denticulata has a predatory life style feeding on nematodes. Due to intermediate to low.sup.13C and.sup.15N levels and specific FA compositions the other collembolan species could be ascribed to secondary decomposers with I. minor being more closely associated with bacterial resources and F. quadrioculata, L. lanuginosus and P. notabilis with fungal resources. However, dietary niches presumably comprise a mixture of resources rather than single resources. FAs in collembolan species correlated poorly with those in litter suggesting that the diet of collembolan species is rather independent of the structure of microbial communities in bulk litter. The results suggest that collembolans consume resources of microsites rather than bulk material thereby benefitting from the small-scale heterogeneity in resource distribution in soil. Low variation in trophic niches with forest type suggests that these microsites are similar across different forests and provide similar food resources despite marked differences in e.g., litter materials and humus structure. Author Affiliation: (a) J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg August University Gottingen, Berliner Stra[sz]e 28, 37073 Gottingen, Germany (b) German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany (c) Institute of Biology, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 21, 04103 Leipzig, Germany Article History: Received 24 April 2014; Revised 20 November 2014; Accepted 16 December 2014
    Keywords: Niches (Ecology) – Analysis ; Fatty Acids – Analysis
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, March 2015, Vol.82, pp.28-35
    Description: Feeding on a variety of resources, collembolans have been assumed to be food generalists. However, recent stable isotope analyses documented that collembolan species occupy different trophic levels, but detailed studies on species-specific food resources are sparse. Further, it still is little understood whether food resources of collembolan species are constant or shift, e.g., with habitats. Fatty acid (FA) and stable isotope analysis allow insight into utilisation of basal resources and trophic levels of consumers, respectively. We combined these methods to investigate variations in trophic niches of six collembolan species ( , , , , and ) in beech and spruce forests. We correlated collembolan FAs with that of litter microorganisms at the respective study sites to identify links to resources. FA composition and stable isotope signatures in collembolan species did not differ significantly between forest types but between species suggesting pronounced trophic niche differentiation between species. The trophic niche of and was similar and significantly differed from the other species with C and N signatures being least depleted. We suggest that has a predatory life style feeding on nematodes. Due to intermediate to low C and N levels and specific FA compositions the other collembolan species could be ascribed to secondary decomposers with being more closely associated with bacterial resources and , and with fungal resources. However, dietary niches presumably comprise a mixture of resources rather than single resources. FAs in collembolan species correlated poorly with those in litter suggesting that the diet of collembolan species is rather independent of the structure of microbial communities in bulk litter. The results suggest that collembolans consume resources of microsites rather than bulk material thereby benefitting from the small-scale heterogeneity in resource distribution in soil. Low variation in trophic niches with forest type suggests that these microsites are similar across different forests and provide similar food resources despite marked differences in e.g., litter materials and humus structure.
    Keywords: Carbon ; Decomposers ; Forest Types ; Fungivores ; Lipids ; Trophic Level ; Agriculture ; Chemistry
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    E-ISSN: 1879-3428
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