ELIZALDE luciana
Volcanism and arthropods: a review
Ecología Austral
Asociación Argentina de Ecología
Año: 2014 vol. 23 p. 3 - 16
Volcanic eruptions are natural disturbances that impose multiple changes in ecosystems. Arthropods are among the most diverse organisms on the planet and play key functional roles in all ecosystems. Existing information on the effects of volcanic disturbances on arthropods is scattered. The aim of this review is to find generalities in the responses of arthropods from terrestrial and aquatic environments to volcanism. Mainly (1) what effects do volcanic disturbances have on arthropods?, (2) what characteristics make certain species more or less susceptible to volcanic disturbances?, and (3) how do arthropod communities reassemble after a volcanic disturbance? Terrestrial and aquatic arthropods show similar responses to volcanic disturbances. Volcanism can affect arthropod populations, communities, and ecosystems through the functions that arthropods perform. Most studies evaluated the effect of volcanic ash as the primary volcanic disturbance type and found that most species have higher mortality than controls, but species show different susceptibility to volcanism. However, mortality of a certain species varies by the amount of ash, how the species was exposed to ash (i.e. body contact, contaminated food, modification of the habitat), and relative humidity. In the few arthropod communities studied, richness, composition and abundance of species are affected to some degree by volcanic eruptions. I gathered information on a number of morphological, physiological, behavioral and life-history traits that seem important to determine species responses to volcanic disturbance. However, current knowledge of arthropod responses to volcanism is limited, and limited to few volcanic eruptions. More broadly, studies of volcanic events may provide ecosystem-scale insights on how climate change and human-induced changes, such as higher concentration of particles in suspension or gas emission to the environment, might affect arthropod communities.