Termites mitigate the effects of drought in tropical rainforest

Louise A Ashton, and Catherine L Parr, and H. M. Griffiths, and Theodore Alfred Evans, and Raphael Didham, and Fevziye Hasan, and Yit Arn Teh, and HoeSeng Tin, and Charles Santhanaraju Vairappan, and Eggleton, (2019) Termites mitigate the effects of drought in tropical rainforest. Science, 363. pp. 1-4. ISSN 0036-8075

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Abstract

Termites perform key ecological functions in tropical ecosystems, are strongly affected by variation in rainfall, and respond negatively to habitat disturbance. However, it is not known how the projected increase in frequency and severity of droughts in tropical rainforests will alter termite communities and the maintenance of ecosystem processes. Using a large-scale termite suppression experiment, we found that termite activity and abundance increased during drought in a Bornean forest. This increase resulted in accelerated litter decomposition, elevated soil moisture, greater soil nutrient heterogeneity, and higher seedling survival rates during the extreme El Niño drought of 2015–2016. Our work shows how an invertebrate group enhances ecosystem resistance to drought, providing evidence that the dual stressors of climate change and anthropogenic shifts in biotic communities will have various negative consequences for the maintenance of rainforest ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Divisions: SCHOOL > Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Depositing User: MDM SITI AZIZAH IDRIS
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2020 10:24
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2020 10:24
URI: http://eprints.ums.edu.my/id/eprint/25488

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