Assessing the feeding habits of Lumbricus rubellus in an alpine habitat by multiple stable isotope analysis

Julia Seeber, Michael Traugott and Erwin Meyer (PI)

 

This project investigates trophic interactions within an alpine decomposer food web. It is based on the outcomes of the current project (P16027) on a macrofauna decomposer food web in alpine grassland. In this study the epigeic/hemiedaphic earthworm Lumbricus rubellus turned out to be the key decomposer species. Furthermore, this species preferred dwarf shrub litter as food source in mesocosms experiments, which is contrasting previous knowledge on its feeding ecology. Disentangling the trophic connections of L. rubellus will therefore be of great importance for understanding the decomposition processes in managed and abandoned pastureland in the alpine zone.

Within the proposed project the feeding habits of L. rubellus on managed and abandoned alpine pastureland will be analysed by stable isotope analysis. This approach includes field experiments with labelled feeding substrates as well as feeding experiments to identify the species-specific shifts between L. rubellus and its diets. These investigations will provide new insights in the feeding ecology of L. rubellus and supplement the data obtained on this species within previous projects.

 

Funding: FWF Logo


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Feeding ecology L. rubellus