Diversity, phylogeny and trophic ecology of arboreal Collembola communities along a lowland rainforest transformation gradient
Collembola are micro-arthropods which play a vital role in the leaf litter decomposer system and the formation of humus soil. In the Asian tropics, Collembola are unusually abundant on tree crowns. Dominated by the families Entomobryidae and Paronellidae, they are likely key elements to the formation of soil-filled microhabitats on tree crowns, leaf axles and epiphytic ferns. Studying the arboreal Entomobryidae and the Paronellidae along a transformation gradient from rainforest via extensive jungle rubber to monocultures of rubber and oil palm, we aim to learn about the degree and the pathways in which agricultural systems retain the ability to form humus soil. Specifically, we plan three lines of work: morphological taxonomy, molecular phylogeny and biodiversity analysis, and food web analysis via stable isotopes and fatty acids.