The effects of fire on invertebrate food web structure in the buttongrass moorlands of Tasmania

Low intensity fires are used extensively in the management of Tasmania’s ButtongrassMoorlands, despite being little known about the long term effects of repeated burning on ecosystem functioning.  Understanding patterns of species loss and the impacts on ecological functioning are fundamental to predicting the long term effects of fire.  In the Buttongrass, invertebrates play key roles in the decomposition and mineralisationof organic matter and the mobilisationof nutrients contributing directly to peat formation.   Stable isotope “signatures” can enable us to determine taxonrelationships within the food web and make inferences about potential flow on effects from fire induced changes in structure.

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