Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology


ANDIV - Patterns and drivers of insect diversity and their microbiome along a complete forest elevational gradient in the Peruvian Andes

Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter   Marcell Peters

Förderer: DFG
Homepage: https://www.andiv.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de


Tropical mountains are global biodiversity hotspots, yet most of their diversity remains unexplored, and diversity patterns and functional traits of most organisms are poorly understood. This is particularly true for the hyper-diverse groups of holometabolous insects (butterflies, moths, bees, ants, wasps, flies, beetles and others). Holometabolous insects contribute more than three quarters of all described animal species and perform key functions in ecosystem like herbivory, pollination or decomposition. In the DFG-funded project ANDIV we combine cutting-edge genetic and bioinformatic tools with ecological field work and experiments to investigate the patterns and drivers of biodiversity of holometabolous insects and their microbiome along climatic gradients in pristine forests of the Peruvian Andes. The project contributes to a better understanding of the response of insects to climate change.

The field work will be performed in the Cosñipata and Marcapata region in the Andes of south-eastern Peru. The study region runs from the Amazonian lowland forests to the high Andean mountain forests, covering a completely forested elevation gradient of >3000 m. The area, adjacent to the Manú National Park, is among the most species-rich in the world and of outstanding importance for biodiversity conservation.

The ANDIV project will assess biodiversity and species-interaction data on 30 study sites running from 250 to 3360 m elevation. Well-equipped research stations and lodges will be used as basecamps.