Journal article

Detritivores as indicators of landscape stress and soil degradation

Maurizio G Paoletti, Graham HR Osler, Adrianne Kinnear, Dennis G Black, Linda J Thomson, Angelos Tsitsilas, David Sharley, Simon Judd, Peter Neville, Alessandra D'Inca

AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE | CSIRO PUBLISHING | Published : 2007

Abstract

Detritivores are small- to medium-sized invertebrates that comminute and break down organic materials such as leaves, twigs and roots, especially within or upon the soil surface, or nearby. Detritivores constitute the majority of the invertebrate biomass pyramid in most environments and provide a key role in organic matter turnover; they also provide alternative food for polyphagous predators that can be active in pest control on crops. Many arthropod taxa are detritivores in soil and litter layers. Here, we focus on the bioindicator potential of three key detritivore groups: slaters, millipedes and oribatid mites. There are possibly 300 species of slaters (terrestrial isopods or Oniscidea) ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers