Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Faeces traits as unifying predictors of detritivore effects on organic matter turnover
Author(s): Coq, Sylvain
Ganault, Pierre
LeMer, Guillaume
Nahmani, Johanne
Capowiez, Yvan
Dignac, Marie-France
Rumpel, Cornelia
Joly, Francois-Xavier
Contact Email:
Keywords: Macroarthropods
Soil functioning
Soil invertebrates
Soil processes
Trait-based approaches
Issue Date: 15-Sep-2022
Date Deposited: 1-Jun-2022
Citation: Coq S, Ganault P, LeMer G, Nahmani J, Capowiez Y, Dignac M, Rumpel C & Joly F (2022) Faeces traits as unifying predictors of detritivore effects on organic matter turnover. Geoderma, 422, Art. No.: 115940.
Abstract: In the last decade, our understanding of plant litter decomposition and soil organic matter formation substantially improved but critical blind spots remain. Particularly, the role of detritivores, i.e. soil animals that feed on litter and soil, is poorly understood and notoriously missing from biogeochemical models. This major gap results from methodological difficulties to isolate their effect and from the astonishing diversity of detritivorous organisms with few common features, thereby hampering the identification of general patterns. In this viewpoint, we propose that the characteristics of their faeces can predict detritivore effects on soil processes related to organic matter turnover across the large detritivore diversity. Indeed, faeces are common to all detritivores, and a large part of organic matter is transformed into faeces in many ecosystems. Two recent studies presented here showed that faeces characteristics are powerful predictors of the fate and turnover of this transformed organic matter. We suggest that faeces characteristics, such as water-holding capacity, size and spatial organisation of the faecal pellets and of their constituting particles, particulate organic matter connectivity, as well as the characteristics of dissolved organic matter in faecal pellets, are promising ‘effect traits’. By focusing on similar features rather than differences, this approach has the potential to break down barriers of this highly fragmented soil animal group, in particular between earthworms that are often studied as ecosystem engineers and classical litter transformers such as millipedes, woodlice, or snails. We discuss ways of tackling the complexity of using such traits, particularly regarding the composite determinism of faeces characteristics that are driven both by the detritivore identity and the ingested organic matter. Rigorous and hypothesis-based use of faeces characteristics as effect traits, including clear identification of studied processes, could allow integrating detritivores in our current understanding of organic matter turnover.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2022.115940
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Accepted refereed manuscript of: Coq S, Ganault P, LeMer G, Nahmani J, Capowiez Y, Dignac M, Rumpel C & Joly F (2022) Faeces traits as unifying predictors of detritivore effects on organic matter turnover. Geoderma, 422, Art. No.: 115940. © 2022, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
GEODER-D-21-02589_R1.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version15.57 MBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 2023-05-19    Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.