Interactions between soil dwelling dipteran larvae and microorganisms in alpine zones

Alexander Rief (PI),  Julia Seeber, Brigitte Knapp, Wolfgang Arthofer, Birgit Schlick-Steiner

Two major current events lead to profound changes in alpine plant communities and consequently to changes in litter composition: (1) As a result of climate change, plant species and communities in high mountains will expand their habitats upwards. (2) The abandonment of management on alpine pastureland causes a shift in the plant community structure from annual grasses and herbs to perennial grasses and dwarf shrubs. It is assumed that changes in microbial community patterns might be a direct result of changing plant species composition. Consequentely, also the soil fauna is forced to adapt to these changing conditions and the extent to which this process takes place is an essential question in the soil formation process.

With the help of the combined use of DGGE-analyses and cloning/sequencing, we will evaluate if the microbial community in the invertebrate decomposer gut of two prevalent alpine Dipteran families (Sciaridae and Tipulidae) is species-specific or diet-related. Based on previous studies on non-alpine Diptera we hypothesise that these families harbour an indigenous microbiota resilient to substrate changes and thereby not regulated by the ingested food type. This will help us to make important implications about the effect of land-use changes and global warming on the alpine soil fauna.


Funding: Tiroler Wissenschaftsfond

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