Mammal and tree diversity accumulate different types of soil organic matter in the Amazon

We investigated the effects of the diversity of 🐗 mammal and 🌴tree on soil organic matter (SOM) composition in the northern Amazon.
Published in Ecology & Evolution
Mammal and tree diversity accumulate different types of soil organic matter in the Amazon

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In 4.8 million ha in the northern Amazon we studied 83 mammal and tree communities and sampled its soils  (4-5 samples per site/community, 401 soil samples). 102,044 individuals of 48 mammal species (excluding volant mammals and small terrestrial mammals) recorded by direct visual encounters (19,347 individuals) and animal signs (82,697 individuals) were used for mammal species richness estimation. Tree indentification included 24,552 individual trees with DBH >25 cm from a total of 163 taxa. We additionally assessed and trait diversity (functional richness, evenness, and divergence) for each mammal assemblage.

Soil composition per sample was analyzed by Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence  spectrometry (S, Fe, Al, Si) , combustion band elemntal analyzer (C, N)  and Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR WHICH molecular composition of the soil from the characteristic molecular vibrations that are detected when a soil sample is subjected to mid-infrared radiation).


Soil organic matter (SOM) varied in carbonyl and aliphatic groups content vs. N, S, Fe content among 83 transects covering an area of 4,8 million ha of Amazon biome. 

Tree diversity relates to the accumulation of aliphatic and carbonyl SOM 🌴

While mammal diversity contributes to the accumulation of N-, S-, Fe-rich SOM 🐗.

Besides, lower mammal functional richness but higher functional divergence were related to higher content of carbonyl and aliphatic SOM, potentially affecting SOM recalcitrance. 

These results suggests that mammals and trees’ effect on SOM composition is complementary, thus not redundant.🐗🌴 

Thanks to @Cireniasketches for beautiful illustartion! and  all collaborators in this work @eco_past @UniversidadeUSC and @MapasLab @uvigo and special thanks to Makushi, Wapishana and Wai-Wai people whose traditional ecological knowledge made this work possible.


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