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Effects of Wood Density on Aquatic Insect Communities in a Cuban Montane Rainforest Stream

Martínez, B T, Quintana, A T, Cambas, Y T, Roque, F O
Neotropical entomology 2019 v.48 no.4 pp. 527-537
Diptera, Ephemeroptera, Psychotria, aquatic insects, biofilm, carbon, cellulose, food groups, functional foods, hardness, hemicellulose, insect communities, rain forests, softwood, species richness, streams, trees, tropical forests, wood density
We tested whether hardness or different wood carbon densities, considered as the concentration of carbon structural compounds, influence functional feeding groups and species richness of aquatic insects in a tropical stream. We expected that harder woods would harbor aquatic insect communities with species richness and functional food group profile different from softwoods. We also expected that collector-gatherers and collector-filterers will be more abundant in softwood because harder woods are less substrate suitable for biofilm production. Aquatic insects associated with the following plants were analyzed: Gomidesia lindeniana with high-density, Psychotria grandis with medium-density, and Meriania leucantha with low-density wood. Diptera and Ephemeroptera were the most abundant groups sampled in the woods. Psychotria grandis shows higher concentrations of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose, followed by G. lindeniana and M. leucantha. Breakdown rates are different among plant species with M. leucantha having four times highest breakdown rates and on average three more species in the species richness value. We did not find significant differences in the composition of insect species associated with the plants. We found evidence that the richness and functional organization of aquatic insect communities were mostly related to the breakdown rates and lignin amount of the woods. Plants that decompose faster on average have three more species and two more insect functional groups. Our findings suggest that the loss of high carbon density trees in tropical forests can affect aquatic biodiversity.