First field estimation of greenhouse gas release from European soil-dwelling Scarabaeidae larvae targeting the genus Melolontha

Publication Date Aug 26, 2020


Arthropods are a major soil fauna group, and have the potential to substantially influence the spatial and temporal variability of soil greenhouse gas (GHG) sinks and sources. The overall effect of soil-inhabiting arthropods on soil GHG fluxes still remains poorly quantified since the majority of the available data comes from laboratory experiments, is often controversial, and has been limited to a few species. The main objective of this study was to provide first insights into field-level carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) release of soil-inhabiting larvae of the Scarabaeidae family. Larvae of the genus Melolontha were excavated at various sites in west-central and southern Germany, covering a wide range of different larval developmental stages, larval activity levels, and vegetation types. Excavated larvae were immediately incubated in the field to measure their GHG production. Gaseous carbon release of individual larvae showed a large inter- and intra-site variability which was strongly correlated to larval biomass. This correlation persisted when upscaling individual CO2 and CH4 production to the plot scale. Field release estimates for Melolontha spp. were subsequently upscaled to the European level to derive the first regional GHG release estimates for members of the Scarabaeidae family. Estimates ranged between 10.42 and 409.53 kt CO2 yr-1, and 0.01 and 1.36 kt CH4 yr-1. Larval N2O release was only sporadically observed and not upscaled. For one site, a comparison of field- and laboratory-base...


Scarabaeidae Larvae Greenhouse Gas Soil Greenhouse Gas Flux Soil Greenhouse Gas CH4 Yr-1 CO2 Yr-1 Larval Developmental Stages Greenhouse Gas Production Intra-site Variability Larval Biomass

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