Termite sensitivity to temperature affects global wood decay rates

Amy E. Zanne* (Corresponding author), Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Jeff R. Powell, William K. Cornwell, James W. Dalling, Amy T. Austin, Aimée T. Classen, Paul Eggleton, Kei Ichi Okada, Catherine L. Parr, E. Carol Adair, Stephen Adu-Bredu, Md Azharul Alam, Carolina Alvarez-Garzón, Deborah Apgaua, Roxana Aragón, Marcelo Ardon, Stefan K. Arndt, Louise A. Ashton, Nicholas A. BarberJacques Beauchêne, Matty P. Berg, Jason Beringer, Matthias M. Boer, José Antonio Bonet, Katherine Bunney, Tynan J. Burkhardt, Dulcinéia Carvalho, Dennis Castillo-Figueroa, Lucas A. Cernusak, Alexander W. Cheesman, Tainá M. Cirne-Silva, Jamie R. Cleverly, Johannes H.C. Cornelissen, Timothy J. Curran, André M. D’Angioli, Caroline Dallstream, Nico Eisenhauer, Fidele Evouna Ondo, Alex Fajardo, Romina D. Fernandez, Astrid Ferrer, Marco A.L. Fontes, Mark L. Galatowitsch, Grizelle González, Felix Gottschall, Peter R. Grace, Elena Granda, Hannah M. Griffiths, Mariana Guerra Lara, Motohiro Hasegawa, Mariet M. Hefting, Nina Hinko-Najera, Lindsay B. Hutley, Jennifer Jones, Anja Kahl, Mirko Karan, Joost A. Keuskamp, Tim Lardner, Michael Liddell, Craig Macfarlane, Cate Macinnis-Ng, Ravi F. Mariano, M. Soledad Méndez, Wayne S. Meyer, Akira S. Mori, Aloysio S. Moura, Matthew Northwood, Romà Ogaya, Rafael S. Oliveira, Alberto Orgiazzi, Juliana Pardo, Guille Peguero, Josep Penuelas, Luis I. Perez, Juan M. Posada, Cecilia M. Prada, Tomáš Přívětivý, Suzanne M. Prober, Jonathan Prunier, Gabriel W. Quansah, Víctor Resco de Dios, Ronny Richter, Mark P. Robertson, Lucas F. Rocha, Megan A. Rúa, Carolina Sarmiento, Richard P. Silberstein, Mateus C. Silva, Flávia Freire Siqueira, Matthew Glenn Stillwagon, Jacqui Stol, Melanie K. Taylor, François P. Teste, David Y.P. Tng, David Tucker, Manfred Türke, Michael D. Ulyshen, Oscar J. Valverde-Barrantes, Eduardo van den Berg, Richard S.P. van Logtestijn, G. F. Ciska Veen, Jason G. Vogel, Timothy J. Wardlaw, Georg Wiehl, Christian Wirth, Michaela J. Woods, Paul Camilo Zalamea

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
141 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Deadwood is a large global carbon store with its store size partially determined by biotic decay. Microbial wood decay rates are known to respond to changing temperature and precipitation. Termites are also important decomposers in the tropics but are less well studied. An understanding of their climate sensitivities is needed to estimate climate change effects on wood carbon pools. Using data from 133 sites spanning six continents, we found that termite wood discovery and consumption were highly sensitive to temperature (with decay increasing >6.8 times per 10°C increase in temperature)—even more so than microbes. Termite decay effects were greatest in tropical seasonal forests, tropical savannas, and subtropical deserts. With tropicalization (i.e., warming shifts to tropical climates), termite wood decay will likely increase as termites access more of Earth’s surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1444
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume377
Issue number6613
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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