Describing termite assemblage structure in a Peruvian lowland tropical rain forest: a comparison of two alternative methods

C. A L Dahlsjö*, C. L. Parr, Y. Malhi, P. Meir, P. Eggleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Termites are frequently dominant invertebrate decomposers and bioturbators in lowland tropical forests and therefore strongly influence ecosystem processes favouring soil stability, porosity and nutrient retention. In this study, we provide the first spatially replicated dataset on termite assemblage composition, abundance and biomass in a Peruvian rainforest by sampling six separate plots. In addition, two alternative sampling methods (transect method-TM and quadrat method-QM), providing termite species density data, were compared among the plots. The relationships between a range of environmental and spatial variables and species composition were examined using canonical correspondence analysis variation partitioning. We found that the TM captured a higher proportion of the known species in the site (82 %) compared with the QM (66 %). In addition, 56 % of the species sampled by TM were common between the plots while only 18 % of species overlapped using the QM. The QM may therefore potentially have undersampled the species pool. Environmental variables were shown to explain a larger proportion of the species patterns than the spatial variables with elevation, soil temperature and distance to the river being the most important. We discuss the impacts of the environmental and spatial variables on termite species composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalInsectes sociaux
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • Environmental variables
  • Quadrat method
  • Spatial variables
  • Species composition
  • Termitoidae
  • Transect method

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