Community Structure and Interaction Breadth in Beetle-Macrofungus Associations

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/265364
Title:
Community Structure and Interaction Breadth in Beetle-Macrofungus Associations
Author:
Epps, Mary Jane
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
A major goal of ecology is to understand the factors that shape interactions among species. In this study, I explored the little-known associations between beetles and macrofungal fruiting bodies to characterize patterns of beetle-fungus association and to investigate sources of variation in the structure of these trophic interactions. First, I characterized the composition and diversity of beetle-sporocarp associations at two sites in the Appalachian Mountains and foothills, and evaluated the extent to which beetle community structure varied with fungal species, sporocarp age, and sporocarp dry mass. My results showed that beetle abundance and diversity differed among fungal species and were positively associated with sporocarp age and dry mass. I also found evidence of a nested structure in beetle-sporocarp interactions, wherein specialists on both sides of the association interact preferentially with more generalized species. Next, I performed a field study of beetle-sporocarp associations over two summers to evaluate the factors related to interaction breadth in trophic associations. I found evidence that interaction breadth varies with the palatability of the food organism (as indicated by sporocarp toughness and sporocarp age) and showed that beetle interaction breadth was negatively correlated with sporocarp persistence. I found strong intraseasonal variation in interaction breadth, but no evidence that this variation was structured by precipitation or differences in beetle community composition. In my third chapter, I conducted a field experiment to investigate (1) the importance of an individual food organism's physical properties in determining its relative importance in the beetle-sporocarp interaction network and (2) whether the structure of the beetle-sporocarp interaction network cycles predictably with the time of day. My results show that size and density of individual food organisms may be important factors in determining their relative importance in an interaction network, and offer the first evidence of diurnal cycling in the structure of interaction networks.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
mycophagy; networks; specialization; species interactions; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; community assembly; generalization
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Arnold, Anne Elizabeth

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleCommunity Structure and Interaction Breadth in Beetle-Macrofungus Associationsen_US
dc.creatorEpps, Mary Janeen_US
dc.contributor.authorEpps, Mary Janeen_US
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractA major goal of ecology is to understand the factors that shape interactions among species. In this study, I explored the little-known associations between beetles and macrofungal fruiting bodies to characterize patterns of beetle-fungus association and to investigate sources of variation in the structure of these trophic interactions. First, I characterized the composition and diversity of beetle-sporocarp associations at two sites in the Appalachian Mountains and foothills, and evaluated the extent to which beetle community structure varied with fungal species, sporocarp age, and sporocarp dry mass. My results showed that beetle abundance and diversity differed among fungal species and were positively associated with sporocarp age and dry mass. I also found evidence of a nested structure in beetle-sporocarp interactions, wherein specialists on both sides of the association interact preferentially with more generalized species. Next, I performed a field study of beetle-sporocarp associations over two summers to evaluate the factors related to interaction breadth in trophic associations. I found evidence that interaction breadth varies with the palatability of the food organism (as indicated by sporocarp toughness and sporocarp age) and showed that beetle interaction breadth was negatively correlated with sporocarp persistence. I found strong intraseasonal variation in interaction breadth, but no evidence that this variation was structured by precipitation or differences in beetle community composition. In my third chapter, I conducted a field experiment to investigate (1) the importance of an individual food organism's physical properties in determining its relative importance in the beetle-sporocarp interaction network and (2) whether the structure of the beetle-sporocarp interaction network cycles predictably with the time of day. My results show that size and density of individual food organisms may be important factors in determining their relative importance in an interaction network, and offer the first evidence of diurnal cycling in the structure of interaction networks.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectmycophagyen_US
dc.subjectnetworksen_US
dc.subjectspecializationen_US
dc.subjectspecies interactionsen_US
dc.subjectEcology & Evolutionary Biologyen_US
dc.subjectcommunity assemblyen_US
dc.subjectgeneralizationen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEcology & Evolutionary Biologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorArnold, Anne Elizabethen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBronstein, Judithen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMoore, Wendyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRobichaux, Roberten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberArnold, Anne Elizabethen_US
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