A phylogenetic community approach for studying termite communities in a West African savannah

Autor(en): Hausberger, Barbara
Korb, Judith
Stichwörter: Biology; community assembly; competition; Ecology; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Evolutionary Biology; habitat filtering; ISOPTERA; Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics; MACROTERMES MICHAELSENI; MOUNDS; neutral theory; savannah; termites
Erscheinungsdatum: 2015
Herausgeber: ROYAL SOC
Journal: BIOLOGY LETTERS
Volumen: 11
Ausgabe: 10
Zusammenfassung: 
Termites play fundamental roles in tropical ecosystems, and mound-building species in particular are crucial in enhancing species diversity, from plants to mammals. However, it is still unclear which factors govern the occurrence and assembly of termite communities. A phylogenetic community approach and null models of species assembly were used to examine structuring processes associated with termite community assembly in a pristine savannah. Overall, we did not find evidence for a strong influence of interspecific competition or environmental filtering in structuring these communities. However, the presence of a single species, the mound-building termite Macrotermes bellicosus, left a strong signal on structuring and led to clustered communities of more closely related species. Hence, this species changes the assembly rules for a whole community. Our results show the fundamental importance of a single insect species for community processes, suggesting that more attention to insect species is warranted when developing conservation strategies.
ISSN: 17449561
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0625

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