Large‐scale moth outbreaks have led to profound changes in plant communities from birch forests dominated by dwarf shrubs to grass‐dominated systems. However, the indirect effects on the belowground compartment are poorly known.
Photos illustrate the stations from undamaged (left) and defoliated (right) forests. Photo: Ole Petter Laksforsmo Vindstad
As part of a collaboration between COAT and the University of Grenoble (France), Caldéron‐Sanou and colleagues 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. This work is newly published in Scientific Reports.
Calderón‐Sanou, I., Münkemüller, T., Zinger, L., Schimann, H., Yoccoz, N. G., Gielly, L., . . . Thuiller, W. (2021). Cascading effects of moth outbreaks on subarctic soil food webs. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 15054. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94227-z