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1. Land use intensity has an influence on the abundance and diversity of the cadaver associated insect fauna.

2. Different Exploratories exhibit different habitats and abiotic conditions that in turn influence abundance and biodiversity of the carrion fauna and cadaver decomposition rate.

3. Soil nutrient flow depends on abundance and type of the respective carrion detritivores, as well as on the soil conditions and ultimately influences the production of plant biomass.

4. Land use intensity has an influence on the composition of microorganisms in soil and consequently on microbe-dependent odour bouquets of decomposing cadavers.

5. Generalist carrion insect species react on either a wider range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or core VOCs which are present during the whole decomposition period while specialists react on a closer spectrum of cadaveric VOCs or a specific bouquet of VOCs characteristic for a specific succession stage.


In August 2014, we exposed 75 piglet cadavers (Sus scrofa domestica) on 25 forest MIPs per Exploratory for collection and determination of cadaver visiting insects (in cooperation with Dr. Frank Reckel, Dr. Jan Eric Grunwald, LKA München and Dr. Krzysztof Szpila, University of Torun, Poland)). We installed photo traps (9 VIPs per Exploratory) for quantification of large scavenging vertebrates. Furthermore, we analyzed decomposition rate by measuring cadaver weight at specific intervals. For evaluation of cadaveric nutrient cycling, we determine abiotic soil parameters such as type, structure, pH, and humidity and perform isotopic analysis (in cooperation with Dr. Martin Werth, University of Ulm) of tissues of piglet cadavers, soil material beneath the carcass and tissue of blowfly maggots. Since insect detritivores are attracted by VOCs released by cadaver associated bacteria, fungi and other detritivores we sampled VOCs in the field (headspace sampling). Later we will chemically analyze these VOCs (GC-MS, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Stefan Schulz, University of Braunschweig) at different stages of decomposition. For selected generalist and specialist beetle species with a function as detritivores, we will analyze the attractiveness of electrophysiological active VOCs in field and laboratory bioassays.


Doc
Variation in sex pheromone communication in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides: causes and consequences
Variation der Sexualpheromonkommunikation des Totengräbers Nicrophorus vespilloides: Ursachen und Konsequenzen
Chemnitz J. (2017): Variation in sex pheromone communication in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides: causes and consequences. Dissertation, University Ulm
Doc
Der Einfluss von Landnutzungsintensität und Habitatbeschaffenheit auf die Körpergröße von Anoplotrupes stercorosus (Coleoptera: Geotrupidae)
Deißler M. R. (2016): Der Einfluss von Landnutzungsintensität und Habitatbeschaffenheit auf die Körpergröße von Anoplotrupes stercorosus (Coleoptera: Geotrupidae). Bachelor thesis, University Ulm
Doc
Der Einfluss der Landnutzung auf die Abundanz Aas-besuchender Scarabaeiden
Dimmerling R. (2015): Der Einfluss der Landnutzung auf die Abundanz Aas-besuchender Scarabaeiden. State examination, University Ulm
Doc
Influence of land use intensity on the biodiversity of the cadaver inhabiting silphid beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and the decomposition rate in differently managed forests
Jauch D. (2015): Influence of land use intensity on the biodiversity of the cadaver inhabiting silphid beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and the decomposition rate in differently managed forests. Master thesis, University Ulm
Doc
Einfluss der Landnutzungsintensität auf die Biodiversität zersetzender Käfer (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
Kubotsch C. (2015): Einfluss der Landnutzungsintensität auf die Biodiversität zersetzender Käfer (Coleoptera: Silphidae). State examination, University Ulm
Doc
Wie verändern sich bakterielle Gemeinschaften auf verwesenden Tierkadavern und welche mögliche Auswirkung auf das Ökosystem hat dies?
Pascual J., von Hoermann C., Rottler-Hoermann A.-M., Nevo O., Geppert A., Sikorski J., Huber K. J. , Steiger S., Ayasse M., Overmann J. (2017): Function of bacterial community dynamics in the formation of cadaveric semiochemicals during in situ carcass decomposition. Environmental Microbiology 19 (8), 3310-3322. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13828
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Body size of Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae) in relation to land use intensity and population density
Szagun S. (2015): Body size of Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae) in relation to land use intensity and population density. Bachelor thesis, University Ulm
Doc
Auswirkungen von abiotischen Umweltfaktoren und der Landnutzung auf die Diversität kadaverbesuchender Aaskäfer (Coleoptera: Silphidae): eine groß angelegte Kadaverstudie
von Hoermann C., Jauch D., Kubotsch C., Reichel-Jung K., Steiger S., Ayasse M. (2018): Effects of abiotic environmental factors and land use on the diversity of carrion-visiting silphid beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae): A large scale carrion study. PLoS ONE 13(5): e0196839. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196839
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Die Abundanz und Diversität kadaverbesuchender Dungkäfer werden von Umgebungsparametern des Forsthabitats in Mitteleuropa beeinflusst
von Hoermann C., Weithmann S., Deißler M., Ayasse M., Steiger S. (2020): Forest habitat parameters influence abundance and diversity of cadaver-visiting dung beetles in Central Europe. Royal Society Open Science 7 (3): 191722. doi: 10.1098/rsos.191722
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Abundance of dung-associated beetles on carrion in differently managed forests (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea)
Weithmann S. (2015): Abundance of dung-associated beetles on carrion in differently managed forests (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea). Master thesis, University Ulm
Doc
Lokal- und Landschaftseffekte auf kadaver-assoziierte Kurzflügelkäfergemeinschaften (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in den Wäldern Zentraleuropas
Weithmann S., Kuppler J., Degasperi G., Steiger S., Ayasse M., von Hoermann C. (2020): Local and Landscape Effects on Carrion-Associated Rove Beetle (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) Communities in German Forests. Insects Insects 11 (12), 828. doi: 10.3390/insects11120828
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Zeitliche Variabilität der Kurzflügelkäfer-Gemeinschaft (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) auf Aas kleiner Wirbeltiere und ihre potenzielle Verwendung für die forensische Entomologie
Weithmann S., von Hoermann C., Degasperi G., Brandt K., Steiger S., Ayasse M. (2021): Temporal variability of the rove beetle (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) community on small vertebrate carrion and its potential use for forensic entomology. Forensic Science International 323: 110792. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2021.110792
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Weithmann S., von Hoermann C., Schmitt T., Steiger S., Ayasse M. (2020): The Attraction of the Dung Beetle Anoplotrupes stercorosus (Coleoptera: Geotrupidae) to Volatiles from Vertebrate Cadavers. Insects 11 (8), 476. doi: 10.3390/insects11080476
More information:  doi.org

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Manfred Ayasse
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Manfred Ayasse
Universität Ulm
Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Sandra Weithmann
Employee
Sandra Weithmann
Universität Ulm
Dr. Christian von Hoermann
Employee
Dr. Christian von Hoermann
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