Nutrient cycling by the subterranean termite <i>Gnathamitermes tubiformans</i> on a desert bajada

TitleNutrient cycling by the subterranean termite Gnathamitermes tubiformans on a desert bajada
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1980
AuthorsSchaefer DA
Number of Pages68
Date Published1980
UniversityNew Mexico State University
CityLas Cruces, New Mexico
Thesis TypeM.S. Thesispp
Call Number00284
Keywordsdecomposition, termites, dissertation, dissertations, Gnathamitermes,nutrient cycling, nutrient cycling, nitrogen, nutrient cycling, phosphorus, nutrient cycling, sulfur, nutrient cycling,termite, termite,nutrient cycling, theses, thesis
Abstract

Termites fulfill a unique role among social insects in desert ecosystems because of their ability to utilize cellulose. Their effect on nutrient cycles was examined. Since the flux of nitrogen through termite colonies is greater than the amount present as termite biomass, this element "turns over" about 3 1/2 times annually in termite colonies. The perennial shrub nitrogen "turns over" in 9.4 years, the litter in 2.8 years, and the annual forbs and grass component in 1 year. Phosphorus "turns over" 2.5 times annually in termite colonies, in 12.6 years in perennial shrubs, 5.8 years in dead plant litter and in 1 year in annual forbs and grasses. Sulfur "turns over" 2.5 times annually in termite colonies, in 13.0 years in perennial shrubs, 2.4 years in dead plant litter and in 1 year in annual forbs and grasses.