Spatio-temporal structure in soil communities and ecosystem processes
The structure of a community is an important factor in the stabilization of food web composition and the regulation of ecosystem processes. Nevertheless, surprisingly little is known about temporal and spatial variability in community and food web composition, and the underlying mechanisms that cause this variability. Moreover, the question remains of how important spatio-temporal variability in community structure is for the regulation of soil processes, and whether we need this kind of detail to understand underlying mechanisms. In an attempt to answer this question, a terrestrial example, the organic horizon of a coniferous forest soil, will be used (1) to quantify community variability in time and across space and (2) to assess possible consequences of community variability for an important soil process, the degradation of organic matter and the subsequent flow of energy and nutrient through soil.
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