Who is eating whom in the glacier fore field?

D. Sint, L. Raso, R. Kaufmann (co-PI), M. Traugott (PI)

The dramatic retreat of the glaciers over the last 150 years is one of the evident signs of climate change in alpine landscapes. Because of their relative simplicity, glacier forelands are model systems for investigating fundamental ecological processes such as colonization, population establishment and community assembly. Interestingly, early successional stages of primary successions are dominated by predatory coloniser communities, and although the rather simple faunal pioneer communities are characterised quite well, we still do not understand on which trophic interactions community assembly depends.

Within this project we have started with optimising fieldwork protocols regarding trapping, conservation and preparation of invertebrate predators in glacier forelands to obtain best results in molecular gut content analysis. Moreover, molecular markers will be designed for some important prey groups. These markers will enable us to analyse food webs in macro-invertebrate glacier foreland communities in future projects.

Funding: University of Innsbruck

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