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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Impacts of detritivore diversity loss on instream decomposition are greatest in the tropics

Boyero, Luz; Lopez-Rojo, Naiara; Tonin, Alan M.; Perez, Javier; Correa-Araneda, Francisco; Pearson, Richard G.; Bosch, Jaime; Albarino, Ricardo J.; Anbalagan, Sankarappan; Barmuta, Leon A.; Basaguren, Ana; Burdon, Francis J.; Caliman, Adriano; Callisto, Marcos; Calor, Adolfo R.; Campbell, Ian C.; Cardinale, Bradley J.; Jesus Casas, J.; Chara-Serna, Ana M.; Chauvet, Eric;
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The relationship between detritivore diversity and decomposition can provide information on how biogeochemical cycles are affected by ongoing rates of extinction, but such evidence has come mostly from local studies and microcosm experiments. We conducted a globally distributed experiment (38 streams across 23 countries in 6 continents) using standardised methods to test the hypothesis that detritivore diversity enhances litter decomposition in streams, to establish the role of other characteristics of detritivore assemblages (abundance, biomass and body size), and to determine how patterns vary across realms, biomes and climates. We observed a positive relationship between diversity and decomposition, strongest in tropical areas, and a key role of abundance and biomass at higher latitudes. Our results suggest that litter decomposition might be altered by detritivore extinctions, particularly in tropical areas, where detritivore diversity is already relatively low and some environmental stressors particularly prevalent. It is unclear whether stream detritivore diversity enhances decomposition across climates. Here the authors manipulate litter diversity and examine detritivore assemblages in a globally distributed stream litterbag experiment, finding a positive diversity-decomposition relationship stronger in tropical streams, where detritivore diversity is lower.

Published in

Nature Communications
2021, volume: 12, number: 1, article number: 3700

Authors' information

Boyero, Luz
University of Basque Country
Lopez-Rojo, Naiara
University of Basque Country
Tonin, Alan M.
Universidade de Brasilia
Perez, Javier
University of Basque Country
Correa-Araneda, Francisco
Universidad Autonoma de Chile
Pearson, Richard G.
James Cook University
Bosch, Jaime
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)
Albarino, Ricardo J.
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas (CONICET)
Anbalagan, Sankarappan
Government Arts College
Barmuta, Leon A.
University of Tasmania
Basaguren, Ana
University of Basque Country
Burdon, Francis
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Caliman, Adriano
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
Callisto, Marcos
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Calor, Adolfo R.
Universidade Federal da Bahia
Campbell, Ian C.
Rhithroecol Pty Ltd
Cardinale, Bradley J.
Pennsylvania State University
Jesus Casas, J.
Universidad de Almeria
Chara-Serna, Ana M.
Ctr Invest Sistemas Sostenibles Prod Agr CIPAV
Chauvet, Eric
Universite Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier
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