Understanding how climate change may affect community dynamics and ecosystem functioning is a key challenge for Ecology. The general aim of DUNGPOOL is to evaluate the effects of the species pool, community assembly processes, and increasing temperatures on the local diversity and ecosystem functions performed by dung beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea) in cattle-grazed pasturelands. DUNGPOOL will focus on different spatial scales, from a global scale to a regional scale including two areas: Sierra de Madrid, where extensive cattle-grazed pastures have dominated the landscape for millennia; and the Azores, an isolated archipelago highly affected by dramatic land use changes and the introduction of exotic species, where pasturelands constitute a novel habitat established during first human settlements, that has spread since mid 20th century for increasing intensive milk production. These regions host contrasting dung beetle faunas; Sierra de Madrid is home to a large diversity of native European dung beetles –with a long history of coevolution with large herbivores, while the Azores hosts a depauperate fauna dominated by introduced species. Focusing on these two regions allows detecting general patterns and relationships that are common in areas with contrasting diversity. We will also use existing data from dung beetle EF experiments to address the general aim from a macroecological perspective at a global scale. Through different work packages, DUNGPOOL will address three main objectives and nine specific objectives, with their different associated hypotheses.
Ministerio de Economia, Industria & Competividad (Spain).
Partners: Francisco J. Cabrero-Sañudo, Eva Cuesta, Indradatta de Castro, Sandra Grzechnik, Rosa Menéndez, Begoña Peco, François Rigal, Eleanor Slade and Alejandra Zarzo.
Project team: Paulo A.V. Borges and François Rigal (Universidade dos Açores- GBA – cE3c).