Pedosphere 18(6): 691--698, 2008
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2008 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Topsoil as affected by dung deposition under resting places of red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus)
S. POUVELLE, F. FEER and J. F. PONGE
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, CNRS UMR 7179, 4 avenue du Petit-Château, 91800 Brunoy (France). E-mail: ponge@mnhn.fr
ABSTRACT
      The short-term influence of dung deposition and the further redistribution of dung by dung beetles were studied under a resting place of the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) living in tropical rainforests of South America. Monkey dung was experimentally clumped on the field in a place used by troops of howler monkeys for resting in the Nouragues Reserve Station, French Guiana. Dung-treated plots were sampled serially over three weeks and compared with controls located in their immediate vicinity. The composition of the soil matrix (top 10 cm) was studied in successive microlayers using an optical method. Under the influence of dung beetle activity, the topsoil became more homogeneous by losing its litter, its content in earthworm faeces increased in the course of time, and surface mineral deposits were penetrated by roots. The results were interpreted in the light of present knowledge on the effects of soil animal activity on plant growth and survival of seedlings.
Key Words:  dung beetle activity, earthworm faeces, roots, tropical rainforests
Citation: Pouvelle, S., Feer, F. and Ponge, J. F. 2008. Topsoil as affected by dung deposition under resting places of red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus). Pedosphere. 18(6): 691-698.
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