Termites are important to litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in desert grasslands. The annual feeding activity on paper baits of subterranean termites in desertified (degraded-shrub dominated ecosystems) and relatively undegraded black-grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) grasslands was measured over six years on 12 sites on the Jornada Basin. Toilet paper roll termite baits were placed on grids on each consumer plot. Data include initial bait weights and bait weights after baits had been retrieved from the field once each year. Weight loss was calculated as a measure of termite foraging activity. This study is complete.
Data file information for Jornada data set: Termite bait data
Termites are important detritivores in Chihuahuan Desert ecosystems and appear to have key roles in plant litter decomposition and nutrient cycling and in altering soil structure and hydrologic processes.
These data were collected in conjunction with a study using exclosures to test the effects of rodents on vegetation and abiotic factors, established at each of the Sevilleta, Jornada and Mapimi research locations. At the Jornada, the effects of cattle were also measured using an additional exclosure. Three replicate experimental blocks of plots are randomly located at each study site to measure vegetation responses to the exclusion of rodents, and lagomorphs, and cattle. Due to their role in processing of plant matter, data on grasshoppers and termites was also collected at the Jornada. Each study site is 1 km by 0.5 km in area. A grid of 36 sampling points are positioned at 5.8-meter intervals on a systematically located 6 by 6 point grid within each plot. A permanent one-meter by one-meter vegetation measurement quadrat is located at each of the 36 points. A tape measure was used to measure the length, diameter, and height, for each occurrence of a termite casing in units of one centimeter. This study is complete.
Data file information for the following Jornada data set: SMES termite casing data