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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Ambient and substrate energy influence decomposer diversity differentially across trophic levels

Kriegel, Peter; Vogel, Sebastian; Angeleri, Romain; Baldrian, Petr; Borken, Werner; Bouget, Christophe; Brin, Antoine; Bussler, Heinz; Cocciufa, Cristiana; Feldmann, Benedikt; Gossner, Martin M.; Haeler, Elena; Hagge, Jonas; Hardersen, Soenke; Hartmann, Henrik; Hjaelten, Joakim; Kotowska, Martyna M.; Lachat, Thibault; Larrieu, Laurent; Leverkus, Alexandro B.;
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The species-energy hypothesis predicts increasing biodiversity with increasing energy in ecosystems. Proxies for energy availability are often grouped into ambient energy (i.e., solar radiation) and substrate energy (i.e., non-structural carbohydrates or nutritional content). The relative importance of substrate energy is thought to decrease with increasing trophic level from primary consumers to predators, with reciprocal effects of ambient energy. Yet, empirical tests are lacking. We compiled data on 332,557 deadwood-inhabiting beetles of 901 species reared from wood of 49 tree species across Europe. Using host-phylogeny-controlled models, we show that the relative importance of substrate energy versus ambient energy decreases with increasing trophic levels: the diversity of zoophagous and mycetophagous beetles was determined by ambient energy, while non-structural carbohydrate content in woody tissues determined that of xylophagous beetles. Our study thus overall supports the species-energy hypothesis and specifies that the relative importance of ambient temperature increases with increasing trophic level with opposite effects for substrate energy.


biodiversity; coleoptera; deadwood; Europe; saproxylic; species-energy hypothesis; trophic guild

Published in

Ecology Letters
2023, Volume: 26, number: 7, pages: 1157-1173
Publisher: WILEY

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network
    SLU Forest Damage Center

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

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