Trophic niches, diversity and community composition of invertebrate top predators (Chilopoda) as affected by conversion of tropical lowland rainforest in Sumatra (Indonesia).
Klarner, Bernhard ; Winkelmann, Helge ; Krashevska, Valentyna ; Maraun, Mark ; Widyastuti, Rahayu ; Scheu, Stefan
Zitierfähiger Link (URL): http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/14544
Conversion of tropical rainforests into plantations fundamentally alters ecological niches of animal species. Generalist predators such as centipedes (Chilopoda) may be able to persist in converted ecosystems due to their ability to adapt and switch to alternative prey populations. We investigated variations in community composition and trophic niches of soil and litter living centipedes in a range of ecosystems including rainforests, jungle rubber agroforests, and rubber and oil palm monocultures in two landscapes in Sumatra, Indonesia. Including information on environmental factors in the soil and litter habitat, we explored drivers shaping ecological niches of soil living invertebrate predators in one of the world's hotspots of rainforest conversion. Conversion of rainforests into agroforests and plantations was associated with a marked change in the composition of centipede communities. However, irrespective of major differences in habitat characteristics, changes in total abundances were small and the overall diversity and biomass of centipedes was similar in each of the systems investigated, suggesting that the number of ecological niches for this group of predators remains unchanged. By using stable isotope analysis (15N and 13C), we investigated trophic niche shifts of the centipede community; lower δ13C values of centipedes in oil palm plantations as compared to other ecosystems suggests that centipedes switch from decomposer prey to other prey, presumably understory associated herbivores, due to reduced availability of litter associated prey species. The results suggest that the ability to utilize alternative prey is a key feature enabling invertebrate predators to persist in ecosystems undergoing major structural changes due to anthropogenic land use change.