Factores que influyen sobre la actividad microbiana en basureros de hormigas cortadoras de hojas

Anahí Fernández, Alejandro G. Farji-Brener, Patricia Satti

Resumen


Ecología Austral, 24:103-110 (2014)

Los microorganismos del suelo cumplen un papel relevante en el ciclado de nutrientes. En consecuencia, conocer los factores que influyen sobre su actividad es de fundamental importancia para comprender mejor el funcionamiento de los ecosistemas terrestres. Empleando a los basureros externos de la hormiga cortadora Acromyrmex lobicornis como sistema modelo, analizamos la asociación de la diversidad de compuestos carbonados y la concentración de carbono con la respiración potencial de microorganismos en ese sustrato. En muestras de basureros en condiciones controladas de laboratorio estimamos la concentración de carbono y la respiración de los microorganismos. En paralelo, cuantificamos la diversidad de la dieta de cada nido como un estimador de la diversidad de compuestos carbonados en sus basureros. La actividad de los microorganismos no se relacionó con la concentración de carbono en los basureros pero mostró una relación de tendencia positiva con la riqueza de la dieta de las hormigas. Como la diversidad de compuestos carbonados en el basurero podría reflejar parcialmente la diversidad de plantas cosechadas por las hormigas, este resultado sugiere que la actividad de los microorganismos descomponedores depende parcialmente de la diversidad de recursos para descomponer. Este trabajo ejemplifica cómo las hormigas cortadoras afectan al suelo en ambientes áridos en donde la materia orgánica es limitante; e ilustra de forma novedosa cómo la pérdida de la diversidad vegetal, al empobrecer la dieta de las hormigas, puede afectar indirecta y negativamente la actividad de los descomponedores.

 


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