Within the Central Scientific Support Unit, I will contribute to the monitoring of aboveground biodiversity patterns across a land-use gradient (old growth secondary forest, jungle rubber, rubber and oil palm plantations) by sampling arboreal arthropod communities.
Tree canopies comprise the bulk of animal biodiversity in tropical rainforests. Much of this diversity is strongly affected by transformation of rainforests into other forest systems or arable land as many of the arthropods are specialists feeding only on certain plant species or preying on a narrow spectrum of invertebrates. Numerous of these species are assumed to go extinct before they have been recorded by science. Although arboreal in the adult stage, many of the arboreal species may temporally reside or seek refuge in soil and it is increasingly realized that above- and belowground communities are more closely linked than previously assumed. Above- and belowground animal communities therefore form interlinked compartments of the food web of terrestrial ecosystems.
As other researchers and workgroups within this Collaborative Research Center CRC990 will generate data on animal and plant biodiversity as well as environmental processes across the four land-use types, we aim at understanding large-scale biotic processes that accompany the increasing impact of land-use in SE-Asia.