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Cascading effects of moth outbreaks on subarctic soil food webs

Abstract : The increasing severity and frequency of natural disturbances requires a better understanding of their effects on all compartments of biodiversity. In Northern Fennoscandia, recent large-scale moth outbreaks have led to an abrupt change in plant communities from birch forests dominated by dwarf shrubs to grass-dominated systems. However, the indirect effects on the belowground compartment remained unclear. Here, we combined eDNA surveys of multiple trophic groups with network analyses to demonstrate that moth defoliation has far-reaching consequences on soil food webs. Following this disturbance, diversity and relative abundance of certain trophic groups declined (e.g., ectomycorrhizal fungi), while many others expanded (e.g., bacterivores and omnivores) making soil food webs more diverse and structurally different. Overall, the direct and indirect consequences of moth outbreaks increased belowground diversity at different trophic levels. Our results highlight that a holistic view of ecosystems improves our understanding of cascading effects of major disturbances on soil food webs.
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Contributor : Wilfried Thuiller Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 1:21:23 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 22, 2021 - 3:08:02 PM

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Irene Calderón-Sanou, Tamara Münkemüller, Lucie Zinger, Heidy Schimann, Nigel Gilles Yoccoz, et al.. Cascading effects of moth outbreaks on subarctic soil food webs. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 11 (1), pp.15054. ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-94227-z⟩. ⟨hal-03346467⟩

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