Response of soil fauna to a changing world. Managing, analyzing diversity data in tropical ecosystem with lots of undescribed species
My work focuses on the diversity, community structure and functioning of microarthropods in decomposer food webs in tropical ecosystems. In particular, I am interested in oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) commonly known as moss or beetle mites, the most abundant and divers arthropod group in many decomposer systems.
In the B08 project I investigate the impact of forest transformation to oil palm, rubber and jungle rubber plantations on the soil fauna, particularly Oribatida.
Species might not have scientific names yet but they have species specific special and trophic niches within an ecosystem. Assessing this biodiversity therefore is essential to answer ecological questions. This a big task in tropical ecosystems because the role of many species is not known yet. As basis of projects focusing on invertebrates in EFForTS (B08, B13 and Z02) I work on establishing a database on the Indonesian soil fauna (particularly Oribatida). This database can be used as key to identify species in a comprehensive and structured and consisting way based on morphological characters, ecological traits and pictures. Counterparts in Indonesia, students and specialists can use the key which may form a starting point in digital documentation of the soil fauna of Indonesia.