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Project 4 (Phase II):

Effects of bioturbation on rates of vertical and horizontal sediment and nutrient fluxes

 

Investigator Names and Contact Info:

  • Nina Farwig (Conservation Ecology). Faculty of Biology, University of Marburg, Germany
  • Annegret Larsen (Geomorphology / Sediment transport). Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
  • Roland Brandl (Animal Ecology). Faculty of Biology, University of Marburg, Germany
  • Jörg Bendix (Geoecology / LCRS).  Faculty of Geography, University of Marburg, Germany

 

Chilean Collaborators Involved:

  • Patricio Pliscoff (Biogeography / Conservation biology / Ecology). Facultad de Historia, Geografía y Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

 

 

PhD:

Burrowing-animal communities and their role as bioturbators along a climate gradient

supervisor: Prof. N. Farwig, co-supervisors: Prof. R. Brandl, Prof. J. Bendix

 

 

PhD:

Estimation of the direct and indirect sediment transport along a climate gradient in Chile

  • Paulina Grigusova. University of Marburg, Germany
  • supervisor: Prof. J. Bendix, co-supervisors: Prof. R. Brandl, Prof. N. Farwig

 

 

 

Master student:

Impact of bioturbators on various soil properties, toward the Chilean latitudinal gradient

  • Köhler, Sabrina. University of Marburg, Germany

supervisor: Prof. N. Farwig, co-supervisors: Prof. R. Brandl, Prof. J. Bendix

 

Master student:

Burrowing mammals and the dimensions of soil excavated by those along the climate gradient of the EarthShape project.

  • Krug, Lena-Marie. University of Marburg, Germany

supervisor: Prof. N. Farwig, co-supervisors: Prof. R. Brandl, Prof. J. Bendix

 

Bachelor student:

Vegetation mapping with very high resolution satellite data.

  • Alexander Klug. University of Marburg, Germany

supervisor: Prof. N. Farwig, co-supervisors: Prof. R. Brandl, Prof. J. Bendix

 

 

 

 

Project summary:

Ground-dwelling animals act as ecosystem engineers that affect the structure and composition of the vegetation and thereby also ecosystem processes like soil formation, soil erosion, decomposition and carbon storage. Bioturbation has also links to the vertical and horizontal redistribution of solid and soluble particles in landscapes and increases the patchiness of water and nutrient availability with consequences for plant assemblages and for soil organisms. However, most published studies on bioturbation have a local perspective and comprehensive, spatially explicit analyses of the influence of ground-dwelling organisms on rates of sediment and nutrient redistribution in the weathering zone and on hill slopes covering a broad climatic gradient are lacking. We thus aim to i) estimate the spatial distribution, abundance and functional type of the bioturbators in the EarthShape primary focus areas and along its climate gradient, ii) quantify the vegetation along this gradient and determine its relation to distribution and abundance of burrowing animals, iii) quantify effects of bioturbators on soil, nutrients and sediment redistribution, and iv) derive catchment-wide redistribution and erosion rates of the effects of bioturbators by using remote sensing and modelling techniques based on plot-derived transfer functions between climate, vegetation and abundance of species.