Finlands Akademi  
Sökande / Kontakt person Arppe, Laura
Organisation Helsingfors universitet
Projektets titel Dietary strategies, ecosystem interactions and paleoecological potential of fungus-growing termites and their mounds
Beslutnr 333868
Beslutsdatum 27.05.2020
Finansierings period 01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024
Finansiering 499 703
Beskrivning av projektet
The project investigates on of the keystone organisms of African savannas – the fungus-cultivating termites. Their nests are responsible for much of the litter decomposition and nutrient recycling in dry savannas, upholding their productivity and species diversity. Despite their important ecosystem effects, many aspects of their success are poorly known. Our project studies the foraging strategies, and the sourcing, transfers and partitioning of nutrients within the symbiotic food web of Macrotermes termite colonies in southern Kenya using a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments. We evaluate the effect of seasonal contrasts in diet quality on their nutritional economy, and the fluxes of gases and nutrients out of the nests and their landscape/ecosystem level impact. We also explore the use of plant-derived carbon stored in ancient termite hills as a new archive of paleoecological information to make reconstructions of past vegetation.