The old and young amazon: dung beetle biomass, abundance and species diversity

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:M. G. Radtke, Da Fonseca, C. R. V., Williamson, G. B.
Keywords:brazil, Ecuador, Neotropics, productivity, richness, Scarabaeidae, tropical wet forest.

The Amazon Basin can be divided into two geomorphological regions based on the age of its soils: young (< 30 mya) and old (> 300 mya). We tested the effects of soil age on dung beetle communities by comparing biomass, abundance, and species between reserves in Ecuador on young soils and reserves in Brazil on old soils. Beetle biomass in the old Amazon was one-third that in the young Amazon, and beetle abundance in the old Amazon was one-fourth that in the young Amazon. Species richness, rarefied to equal sample sizes, was not significantly different between old and young soils. These data suggest young soils of the Amazon support a significantly greater biomass and abundance of dung beetles than old soils, but that species richness across the Basin is similar. As dung beetles are bio-indicators of mammals, our data support previous studies indicating a greater biomass of mammals on young versus old Amazon soils.

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