Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

A "Dirty" Footprint: Macroinvertebrate diversity in Amazonian Anthropic Soils

Demetrio, Wilian C., Conrado, Ana C., Acioli, Agno N. S., Ferreira, Alexandre C., Bartz, Marie L. C., James, Samuel W., Silva, Elodie, Maia, Lilianne S., Martins, Gilvan C., Macedo, Rodrigo S., Stanton, David W. G., Lavelle, Patrick, Velasquez, Elena, Zangerlé, Anne, Barbosa, Rafaella, Tapia?Coral, Sandra C., Muniz, Aleksander W., Santos, Alessandra, Ferreira, Talita, Segalla, Rodrigo F., Decaëns, Thibaud, Nadolny, Herlon S., Peña?Venegas, Clara P., Maia, Cláudia M. B. F., Pasini, Amarildo, Mota, André F., Taube Júnior, Paulo S., Silva, Telma A. C., Rebellato, Lilian, Oliveira Júnior, Raimundo C., Neves, Eduardo G., Lima, Helena P., Feitosa, Rodrigo M., Vidal Torrado, Pablo, McKey, Doyle, Clement, Charles R., Shock, Myrtle P., Teixeira, Wenceslau G., Motta, Antônio C. V., Melo, Vander F., Dieckow, Jeferson, Garrastazu, Marilice C., Chubatsu, Leda S., Kille, Peter ORCID:, Brown, George G. and Cunha, Luís 2021. A "Dirty" Footprint: Macroinvertebrate diversity in Amazonian Anthropic Soils. Global Change Biology 27 (19) , pp. 4575-4591. 10.1111/gcb.15752

[thumbnail of gcb.15752.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Amazonian rainforests, once thought to be pristine wilderness, are increasingly known to have been widely inhabited, modified, and managed prior to European arrival, by human populations with diverse cultural backgrounds. Amazonian Dark Earths (ADEs) are fertile soils found throughout the Amazon Basin, created by pre-Columbian societies with sedentary habits. Much is known about the chemistry of these soils, yet their zoology has been neglected. Hence, we characterized soil fertility, macroinvertebrate communities, and their activity at nine archeological sites in three Amazonian regions in ADEs and adjacent reference soils under native forest (young and old) and agricultural systems. We found 673 morphospecies and, despite similar richness in ADEs (385 spp.) and reference soils (399 spp.), we identified a tenacious pre-Columbian footprint, with 49% of morphospecies found exclusively in ADEs. Termite and total macroinvertebrate abundance were higher in reference soils, while soil fertility and macroinvertebrate activity were higher in the ADEs, and associated with larger earthworm quantities and biomass. We show that ADE habitats have a unique pool of species, but that modern land use of ADEs decreases their populations, diversity, and contributions to soil functioning. These findings support the idea that humans created and sustained high-fertility ecosystems that persist today, altering biodiversity patterns in Amazonia.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1354-1013
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 25 May 2021
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 16:22

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics