Publications by authors named "Erin K Cameron"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Global data on earthworm abundance, biomass, diversity and corresponding environmental properties.

Sci Data 2021 05 21;8(1):136. Epub 2021 May 21.

Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, Göttingen, Germany.

Earthworms are an important soil taxon as ecosystem engineers, providing a variety of crucial ecosystem functions and services. Little is known about their diversity and distribution at large spatial scales, despite the availability of considerable amounts of local-scale data. Earthworm diversity data, obtained from the primary literature or provided directly by authors, were collated with information on site locations, including coordinates, habitat cover, and soil properties. Datasets were required, at a minimum, to include abundance or biomass of earthworms at a site. Where possible, site-level species lists were included, as well as the abundance and biomass of individual species and ecological groups. This global dataset contains 10,840 sites, with 184 species, from 60 countries and all continents except Antarctica. The data were obtained from 182 published articles, published between 1973 and 2017, and 17 unpublished datasets. Amalgamating data into a single global database will assist researchers in investigating and answering a wide variety of pressing questions, for example, jointly assessing aboveground and belowground biodiversity distributions and drivers of biodiversity change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00912-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140120PMC
May 2021

The importance of scavenging in ant invasions.

Curr Opin Insect Sci 2021 Feb 10;46:39-42. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Department of Environmental Science, Saint Mary's University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3, Canada.

Recent work underscores that ants are highly proficient and ubiquitous scavengers. These tendencies extend to numerically and behaviorally dominant introduced ants, which exhibit a suite of traits that allow them to exploit and monopolize carrion to a greater extent than is widely appreciated. We thus contend that an understanding of how introduced ants fit into food webs remains incomplete. Monopolization of carrion resources by introduced ants could increase worker production, enhance the ability of these species to compete with and prey upon other organisms, and alter the strength of direct and indirect interactions within food webs. Future work should consider how ant invasions influence energy transfer within and between green and brown food webs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cois.2021.01.007DOI Listing
February 2021

Blind spots in global soil biodiversity and ecosystem function research.

Nat Commun 2020 08 3;11(1):3870. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world's biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to represent the diversity of environmental conditions that can be found worldwide. Here we identify and characterize existing environmental gaps in soil taxa and ecosystem functioning data across soil macroecological studies and 17,186 sampling sites across the globe. These data gaps include important spatial, environmental, taxonomic, and functional gaps, and an almost complete absence of temporally explicit data. We also identify the limitations of soil macroecological studies to explore general patterns in soil biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, with only 0.3% of all sampling sites having both information about biodiversity and function, although with different taxonomic groups and functions at each site. Based on this information, we provide clear priorities to support and expand soil macroecological research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17688-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400591PMC
August 2020

Side-swiped: Ecological cascades emanating from earthworm invasion.

Front Ecol Environ 2019 Nov 28;17(9):502-510. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources, 1530 Cleveland Ave. N., St. Paul, MN.

Non-native, invasive earthworms are altering soils throughout the world. Ecological cascades emanating from these changes stem from earthworm-caused changes in detritus processing occurring at a mid-point in the trophic pyramid, rather than the more familiar bottom-up or top-down cascades. They include fundamental changes (microcascades) in soil morphology, bulk density, nutrient leaching, and a shift to warmer, drier soil surfaces with loss of organic horizons. In North American temperate and boreal forests, microcascades cause effects of concern to society (macrocascades), including changes in CO sequestration, disturbance regimes, soil quality, water quality, forest productivity, plant communities, and wildlife habitat, and facilitation of other invasive species. Interactions among these changes create cascade complexes that interact with climate change and other environmental changes. The diversity of cascade effects, combined with the vast area invaded by earthworms, lead to regionally important changes in ecological functioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/fee.2099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6944502PMC
November 2019

Towards an integrative understanding of soil biodiversity.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2020 04 15;95(2):350-364. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland.

Soil is one of the most biodiverse terrestrial habitats. Yet, we lack an integrative conceptual framework for understanding the patterns and mechanisms driving soil biodiversity. One of the underlying reasons for our poor understanding of soil biodiversity patterns relates to whether key biodiversity theories (historically developed for aboveground and aquatic organisms) are applicable to patterns of soil biodiversity. Here, we present a systematic literature review to investigate whether and how key biodiversity theories (species-energy relationship, theory of island biogeography, metacommunity theory, niche theory and neutral theory) can explain observed patterns of soil biodiversity. We then discuss two spatial compartments nested within soil at which biodiversity theories can be applied to acknowledge the scale-dependent nature of soil biodiversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/brv.12567DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078968PMC
April 2020

Global distribution of earthworm diversity.

Science 2019 10;366(6464):480-485

Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, 639798 Singapore.

Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass. We found that local species richness and abundance typically peaked at higher latitudes, displaying patterns opposite to those observed in aboveground organisms. However, high species dissimilarity across tropical locations may cause diversity across the entirety of the tropics to be higher than elsewhere. Climate variables were found to be more important in shaping earthworm communities than soil properties or habitat cover. These findings suggest that climate change may have serious implications for earthworm communities and for the functions they provide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aax4851DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335308PMC
October 2019

Global mismatches in aboveground and belowground biodiversity.

Conserv Biol 2019 10 26;33(5):1187-1192. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.

Human activities are accelerating global biodiversity change and have resulted in severely threatened ecosystem services. A large proportion of terrestrial biodiversity is harbored by soil, but soil biodiversity has been omitted from many global biodiversity assessments and conservation actions, and understanding of global patterns of soil biodiversity remains limited. In particular, the extent to which hotspots and coldspots of aboveground and soil biodiversity overlap is not clear. We examined global patterns of these overlaps by mapping indices of aboveground (mammals, birds, amphibians, vascular plants) and soil (bacteria, fungi, macrofauna) biodiversity that we created using previously published data on species richness. Areas of mismatch between aboveground and soil biodiversity covered 27% of Earth's terrestrial surface. The temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome had the highest proportion of grid cells with high aboveground biodiversity but low soil biodiversity, whereas the boreal and tundra biomes had intermediate soil biodiversity but low aboveground biodiversity. While more data on soil biodiversity are needed, both to cover geographic gaps and to include additional taxa, our results suggest that protecting aboveground biodiversity may not sufficiently reduce threats to soil biodiversity. Given the functional importance of soil biodiversity and the role of soils in human well-being, soil biodiversity should be considered further in policy agendas and conservation actions by adapting management practices to sustain soil biodiversity and considering soil biodiversity when designing protected areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13311DOI Listing
October 2019

Changes in the genetic structure of an invasive earthworm species (, Lumbricidae) along an urban - rural gradient in North America.

Appl Soil Ecol 2017 Nov;120:265-272

Georg August University Göttingen, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Animal Ecology, Berliner Straße 28, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.

European earthworms were introduced to North America by European settlers about 400 years ago. Human-mediated introductions significantly contributed to the spread of European species, which commonly are used as fishing bait and are often disposed deliberately in the wild. We investigated the genetic structure of in a 100 km range south of Calgary, Canada, an area that likely was devoid of this species two decades ago. Genetic relationships among populations, gene flow, and migration events among populations were investigated using seven microsatellite markers and the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene. Earthworms were collected at different distances from the city and included fishing baits from three different bait distributors. The results suggest that field populations in Alberta established rather recently and that bait and field individuals in the study area have a common origin. Genetic variance within populations decreased outside of the urban area, and the most distant populations likely originated from a single introduction event. The results emphasise the utility of molecular tools to understand the spatial extent and connectivity of populations of exotic species, in particular soil-delling species, that invade native ecosystems and to obtain information on the origin of populations. Such information is crucial for developing management and prevention strategies to limit and control establishment of non-native earthworms in North America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2017.08.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699645PMC
November 2017

Red list of a black box.

Nat Ecol Evol 2017 Mar 23;1(4):103. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5720341PMC
March 2017

Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations.

Science 2017 May;356(6339):742-744

Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), Branisovska 31, 37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

Biotic interactions underlie ecosystem structure and function, but predicting interaction outcomes is difficult. We tested the hypothesis that biotic interaction strength increases toward the equator, using a global experiment with model caterpillars to measure predation risk. Across an 11,660-kilometer latitudinal gradient spanning six continents, we found increasing predation toward the equator, with a parallel pattern of increasing predation toward lower elevations. Patterns across both latitude and elevation were driven by arthropod predators, with no systematic trend in attack rates by birds or mammals. These matching gradients at global and regional scales suggest consistent drivers of biotic interaction strength, a finding that needs to be integrated into general theories of herbivory, community organization, and life-history evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaj1631DOI Listing
May 2017

The unseen invaders: introduced earthworms as drivers of change in plant communities in North American forests (a meta-analysis).

Glob Chang Biol 2017 03 3;23(3):1065-1074. Epub 2016 Sep 3.

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.

Globally, biological invasions can have strong impacts on biodiversity as well as ecosystem functioning. While less conspicuous than introduced aboveground organisms, introduced belowground organisms may have similarly strong effects. Here, we synthesize for the first time the impacts of introduced earthworms on plant diversity and community composition in North American forests. We conducted a meta-analysis using a total of 645 observations to quantify mean effect sizes of associations between introduced earthworm communities and plant diversity, cover of plant functional groups, and cover of native and non-native plants. We found that plant diversity significantly declined with increasing richness of introduced earthworm ecological groups. While plant species richness or evenness did not change with earthworm invasion, our results indicate clear changes in plant community composition: cover of graminoids and non-native plant species significantly increased, and cover of native plant species (of all functional groups) tended to decrease, with increasing earthworm biomass. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that introduced earthworms facilitate particular plant species adapted to the abiotic conditions of earthworm-invaded forests. Further, our study provides evidence that introduced earthworms are associated with declines in plant diversity in North American forests. Changing plant functional composition in these forests may have long-lasting effects on ecosystem functioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13446DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5324548PMC
March 2017

Root foraging influences plant growth responses to earthworm foraging.

PLoS One 2014 30;9(9):e108873. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Interactions among the foraging behaviours of co-occurring animal species can impact population and community dynamics; the consequences of interactions between plant and animal foraging behaviours have received less attention. In North American forests, invasions by European earthworms have led to substantial changes in plant community composition. Changes in leaf litter have been identified as a critical indirect mechanism driving earthworm impacts on plants. However, there has been limited examination of the direct effects of earthworm burrowing on plant growth. Here we show a novel second pathway exists, whereby earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.) impact plant root foraging. In a mini-rhizotron experiment, roots occurred more frequently in burrows and soil cracks than in the soil matrix. The roots of Achillea millefolium L. preferentially occupied earthworm burrows, where nutrient availability was presumably higher than in cracks due to earthworm excreta. In contrast, the roots of Campanula rotundifolia L. were less likely to occur in burrows. This shift in root behaviour was associated with a 30% decline in the overall biomass of C. rotundifolia when earthworms were present. Our results indicate earthworm impacts on plant foraging can occur indirectly via physical and chemical changes to the soil and directly via root consumption or abrasion and thus may be one factor influencing plant growth and community change following earthworm invasion. More generally, this work demonstrates the potential for interactions to occur between the foraging behaviours of plants and soil animals and emphasizes the importance of integrating behavioural understanding in foraging studies involving plants.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108873PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182600PMC
June 2015

Effects of an ecosystem engineer on belowground movement of microarthropods.

PLoS One 2013 30;8(4):e62796. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Ecosystem engineers affect other species by changing physical environments. Such changes may influence movement of organisms, particularly belowground where soil permeability can restrict dispersal. We investigated whether earthworms, iconic ecosystem engineers, influence microarthropod movement. Our experiment tested whether movement is affected by tunnels (i.e., burrows), earthworm excreta (mucus, castings), or earthworms themselves. Earthworm burrows form tunnel networks that may facilitate movement. This effect may be enhanced by excreta, which could provide resources for microarthropods moving along the network. Earthworms may also promote movement via phoresy. Conversely, negative effects could occur if earthworms alter predator-prey relationships or change competitive interactions between microarthropods. We used microcosms consisting of a box connecting a "source" container in which microarthropods were present and a "destination" container filled with autoclaved soil. Treatments were set up within the boxes, which also contained autoclaved soil, as follows: 1) control with no burrows; 2) artificial burrows with no excreta; 3) abandoned burrows with excreta but no earthworms; and 4) earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) present in burrows. Half of the replicates were sampled once after eight days, while the other half were sampled repeatedly to examine movement over time. Rather than performing classical pairwise comparisons to test our hypotheses, we used AIC(c) to assess support for three competing models (presence of tunnels, excreta, and earthworms). More individuals of Collembola, Mesostigmata, and all microarthropods together dispersed when tunnels were present. Models that included excreta and earthworms were less well supported. Total numbers of dispersing Oribatida and Prostigmata+Astigmata were not well explained by any models tested. Further research is needed to examine the impact of soil structure and ecosystem engineering on movement belowground, as the substantial increase in movement of some microarthropods when corridors were present suggests these factors can strongly affect colonization and community assembly.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0062796PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3640026PMC
November 2013

Genetic structure of invasive earthworms Dendrobaena octaedra in the boreal forest of Alberta: insights into introduction mechanisms.

Mol Ecol 2008 Mar 20;17(5):1189-97. Epub 2007 Dec 20.

Integrated Landscape Management Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.

Population genetic studies can help to determine whether invasive species are established via single vs. multiple introduction events and also to distinguish among various colonization scenarios. We used this approach to investigate the introduction of Dendrobaena octaedra, a non-native earthworm species, to the boreal forest of northern Alberta. The spread of non-native earthworms in forested systems is not well understood, although bait abandonment and vehicular transport are believed to be important. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing revealed that multiple introductions of this species have occurred in northern Alberta, although individual populations may have been established by either single or multiple invaders introduced on one or more occasions. There was no relationship between genetic distances and either geographical distances or distances along road networks, suggesting that human-mediated jump dispersal is more common than diffusive spread via road networks or via active dispersal. As well, genetic diversity was significantly greater at boat launches than roads, indicating that multiple introductions may be more likely to occur at those locations. Focusing management efforts on areas where multiple introductions are likely to occur may help to reduce invasive species' potential for adaptive evolution and subsequent rapid spread.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03603.xDOI Listing
March 2008
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