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Testing the assumptions of the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis for termites in semi-arid Australia

Davis, Hayley, Ritchie, Euan G., Avitabile, Sarah, Doherty, Tim and Nimmo, Dale G. 2018, Testing the assumptions of the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis for termites in semi-arid Australia, Royal Society open science, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 1-18, doi: 10.1098/rsos.172055.

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Title Testing the assumptions of the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis for termites in semi-arid Australia
Author(s) Davis, Hayley
Ritchie, Euan G.ORCID iD for Ritchie, Euan G. orcid.org/0000-0003-4410-8868
Avitabile, Sarah
Doherty, TimORCID iD for Doherty, Tim orcid.org/0000-0001-7745-0251
Nimmo, Dale G.
Journal name Royal Society open science
Volume number 5
Issue number 4
Start page 1
End page 18
Total pages 18
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2018-04
ISSN 2054-5703
2054-5703
Keyword(s) fire ecology
mallee
pyrodiversity
landscape heterogeneity
fire management
invertebrates
Summary Fire shapes the composition and functioning of ecosystems globally. In many regions, fire is actively managed to create diverse patch mosaics of fire-ages under the assumption that a diversity of post-fire-age classes will provide a greater variety of habitats, thereby enabling species with differing habitat requirements to coexist, and enhancing species diversity (the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis). However, studies provide mixed support for this hypothesis. Here, using termite communities in a semi-arid region of southeast Australia, we test four key assumptions of the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis (i) that fire shapes vegetation structure over sufficient time frames to influence species' occurrence, (ii) that animal species are linked to resources that are themselves shaped by fire and that peak at different times since fire, (iii) that species’ probability of occurrence or abundance peaks at varying times since fire and (iv) that providing a diversity of fire-ages increases species diversity at the landscape scale. Termite species and habitat elements were sampled in 100 sites across a range of fire-ages, nested within 20 landscapes chosen to represent a gradient of low to high pyrodiversity. We used regression modelling to explore relationships between termites, habitat and fire. Fire affected two habitat elements (coarse woody debris and the cover of woody vegetation) that were associated with the probability of occurrence of three termite species and overall species richness, thus supporting the first two assumptions of the pyrodiversity hypothesis. However, this did not result in those species or species richness being affected by fire history per se. Consequently, landscapes with a low diversity of fire histories had similar numbers of termite species as landscapes with high pyrodiversity. Our work suggests that encouraging a diversity of fire-ages for enhancing termite species richness in this study region is not necessary.
Language eng
DOI 10.1098/rsos.172055
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30108286

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.