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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Invertebrate succession within the Tahitian Chesnut Inocarpus fagifer in Moorea, French Polynesia


The process of succession takes place over a broad range of magnitudes and timescales. Studies of animal succession within short-lived microhabitats are few in number, making it an imporant addition to the ecological literature. The decomposing fruit fo the Tahitian Chestnut tree I. fagifer represents such a microhabitat. In this study, chestnut fruits from the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, were collected at different stages of decomposition, and the invertebrates inside were cataloged and identified to the most specific taxonomic category possible. Pitfall traps were set up at each location where chestnuts were collected in order to ensure that the dynamics of the chestnut habitat were different than the dynamics of the forest floor. Species richness and diversity for the chestnuts and pitfall traps were calculated and compared in order to test for trends of succession. There were no significant differences in richness or diversity for the pitfall traps, but significant differences did occur across stages for the chestnuts. Predictable trends of succession were interpreted from these results, suggesting that some form of facilitative succession was taking place.

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