Spatial variability of termite gallery production in Chihuahuan Desert plant communities

TitleSpatial variability of termite gallery production in Chihuahuan Desert plant communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsMacKay WP, Whitford WG
JournalSociobiology
Volume14
Pagination281-289
Date Published1988
Accession NumberJRN00084
Call Number00204
Keywordsarticle, articles, gallery carton, also SEE <termite>, gallery carton, nitrogen, gallery carton, turnover, Gnathamitermes, journal, journals, termite, gallery carton, termite, spatial variability, transect, termites
AbstractWe compared the production of termite [Gnathamitermes tubiformans (Buckley)] gallery carton along 2 transects passing through several plant communities in the northern Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. There was significantly more gallery carton produced on a mixed basin slope than on the creosotebush scrub zone or on grassland zones. Gallery carton had a rapid turnover rate. When termites were present, production ranged from 1000-5650 kg/ha/yr accounting for nitrogen inputs of 145-830 g/ha/yr. Our data suggest that subterranean termites are not a nitrogen sink as has been suggested in the literature, and that the inputs and outputs of nitrogen in the termite population are about equal.