Energy channeling and trophic structure in soil food webs under tropical land-use change

My PhD project is a part of the Project B08 of EFForTS. My PhD project focuses on energy channeling, food web structure and functioning in soil of different tropical ecosystems including rainforest, rubber and oil palm plantations.

My objectives are:
  • To determine the trophic structure of food webs by describing trophic niches of groups of soil animals and the whole community in rainforest and in different plantations using bulk stable isotope analysis of C and N combined with biomass data.
  • To find out the trophic enrichment factor in animal decomposers using basal resources of different quality such as leaves, fungi and bacteria of both bulk 15N and 13C concentrations and amino acid-specific 15N and 13C concentrations.
  • Use amino acid stable isotope analysis to assess energy flows from different basal resources to different soil fauna groups in ecosystems of different land use, and find associations between these changes and environmental factors.
  • Assess soil food web stability in different tropical ecosystems by quantifying the topological structure of networks and energy fluxes through different energy channels.