Species composition, spatial distribution models, co-occurrence of termites and related environmental parameters in a small-scale study of tropical rainforests in Sichuanbanna. The first section (A) reflects the composition of the termite community at the level of food groups and related species. The second and fourth sections (B and D) reflect the patterns of the spatial distribution of termites and the intensity of the spatial clustering. The third section (C) reflects the network of co-occurrence among termite food groups according to their coexistence. The last plot (E) reflects the relationship of species and habitats on the study plot. Credit: Soil Ecology Group, Sichuanbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Soil fauna, especially termites, are important for sustainable forest ecosystems and significantly affect soil quality. The composition of the community and the activity density of termites can affect the nutrient cycle and other environmental functions.

Understanding the spatial distribution and density of activities termites at the level of food groups and species on a small scale tropical forests can expand our knowledge of the functional and behavioral differences between these factors. A new study shows that spatial distribution termites depend on the topography and pH of the soil. The researchers’ findings appeared in Letters on Soil Ecology.

From this study, the authors reported new interesting findings. For example, there were interspecific competitions or associations on a scale of tens of meters. They also found the effect of plant biomass and litter mass on different groups of termites that feed. These findings are fundamental in uncovering the mixed processes of the ecosystems of very diverse tropical rainforests.

Dr Liu from the research team says that “there are very few studies on the properties of termite activity density. We believe this study will help us expand our understanding of the distribution of termites across the Asia-Pacific region. but also their reactions to environmental impact on a small scale. “

In the study, they found that soil feeders (Odontotermes) were the dominant feeding group and were reactive to plant biomass, while fungal growers (Macrotermes), the second most common feeding group, demonstrated a response to plant biomass. bedding mass. These results are slightly different from previous studies. However, this study was based on a quantitative approach to understanding the cause-and-effect mechanisms between termites and the associated environment. This study shows that soil relief and pH are the most influential factors for termite density. This finding confirms that these factors are important not only for other taxa in the country soil ecosystems, but also for termites, especially on a small scale.

“We analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods to detect the spatial significance of termites over a relatively small range of altitudes and environmental conditions. We believe that this study is a good starting point for future study of the mechanisms for assembling the termite community, ”said Dr. ся. A co-emergence network created from proximity coefficients can explain how feeding groups can coexist and how they are functionally related. This could explain why the dominance of the termite group has an environmental impact on the existence of other groups and related regulatory abilities.

Understanding small-scale environmental processes can fundamentally give us a deeper understanding of larger-scale complex processes. This study highlighted that not all sympathetic feeding groups are competitive food resources and that not all segregated groups have influence or interaction with others. In biologically diverse and complex tropical forests, small changes in environmental conditions can have a large impact on the distribution, diversity and activity of termites. This study provides empirical findings on termite groups in tropical rainforests that explain species distribution, co-occurrence, and response to environmental heterogeneity on a subtle scale.

Termites mitigate the effects of drought in tropical forests

Additional information:
Myo Thant et al, Density of activity and spatial distribution of termites on a small scale in tropical rainforests in Sichuanbang, southwest China, Letters on Soil Ecology (2022). DOI: 10.1007 / s42832-022-0141-7

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Citation: Topography and soil pH have been found to determine activity density and spatial distribution of termites in a small study (May 20, 2022, May 20) obtained May 20, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022- 05-topography- soil-ph-activity-density-spatial.html

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