International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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The influence of termites on soil microbial communities along the land-use gradient in Peru

Author(s):
Petr Stiblik, Petr Stiblik , Cecilia Anna Linnea Dahlsjö , Tomáš Větrovský , Petr Baldrian , Juan Wicman Huaycama , Bohdan Lojka , Jakub Houška , Jan Sobotnik
Institution(s):
Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic ; Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic ; Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the ASCR, Czech Republic ; Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the ASCR, Czech Republic ; Universidad Nacional de Ucayali, Pucallpa, Peru ; Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic ; Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic ; Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic
Enormously abundant ecosystem engineers, termites, rule the tropical terrestrial biotopes by altering chemical and physical structure of their habitats. Keeping in motion the nutrient cycle by decomposing sound wood and soil organic matter into nutrients available for plants, termites are crucial for both, tropical forest and tropical agriculture. The ability to break down cellulose and lignocellulose is aided by a rich biota of endosymbionts harboured in the termite gut. Apart of this, termites are known to alter the microbial communities in their environment, however, nothing is known about function of these external allies, the ectosymbionts, except for fungus-cultivating Macrotermitinae. We conducted 1-year experiment in primary forest (PF), secondary forest (SC), shaded cacao plantation (CP) and annual crop field (AC) in Ucayali region, Peru, to shed a light at termite contribution to the organic matter decomposition by their ectosymbionts. We described changes of microbial communities taking place in 500ml baits with sterilized soil substrate enriched by organic matter in different land-use regimes. Using two treatments, coarse (5mm) and fine mesh (0.25mm), allowing or disallowing termites to reach the substrate, we were able to estimate termite contribution to these changes. The baits were sampled after 3, 6, 12, 24 and 48 weeks of exposure in the field. The termite diversities and abundances were estimated using standard line transects in all experimental sites. The changes in soil composition were described using a set of pedological methods.  The soil bacterial and fungal communities were assessed using 16S and ITS2 barcode-genes amplicons sequenced by Illumina MiSeq platform.The observed patterns revealed different dynamics in both, pedological properties and microbial communities, among all land-use regimes. Our study adds an important piece of knowledge to termite significance in soil-formation processes in natural and man-made habitats in Amazon basin.
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