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Cientistas Mineiros demostram que Insetos podem atuar como Engenheiros de Ecossistemas.


Em um brilhante estudo que será publicado em Neotropical Entomology, Tatiana Cornelissen (Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei), Fernanda Cintra ( PG Ecologia e Conservação, UFMG) e Jean Carlos Santos (Universidade Federal de Uberlândia) demonstram que insetos são capazes de modificar as estruturas das plantas. Essas alterações, por exemplo, enrolando folhas, facilitam a vida de outros animais ampliando a biodiversidade local, o que é conhecido como Engenharia de Ecossistemas, uma área ainda nova na ecologia. Veja:

Shelter-Building Insects and Their Role as Ecosystem Engineers

Cornelissen, T., Cintra, F. & Santos, J.C. Neotropical Entomology (2016) 45: 1.

doi:10.1007/s13744-015-0348-8

Amelioration of harsh conditions, manipulation of host plant quality, and protection from natural enemies have all been suggested as potential forces in the evolution and maintenance of concealed feeding in insects. The construction of shelters—either in the form of mines, galls, and leaf rolls—are expected to increase larval survivorship and might influence other organisms of the community through non-trophic direct and indirect effects when shelters are co-occupied or occupied after abandonment, placing leaf and stem shelter-builders within the context of ecosystem engineering. In this review, we evaluate the potential of shelter built by insects to reduce pressure exerted by natural enemies, increase tissue quality, and provide shelter against abiotic conditions experienced during insect development. Through a quantitative analysis, we also examined the effects of insect shelters on patterns of richness and abundance of local communities, reviewing the data published in the last 15 years. We demonstrate strong effects of shelters on several arthropods, with increased richness and abundance when shelters are present in the host plants. These results reinforce the importance of the physical structures created by insects that although subtle, might have important roles in facilitative interactions.

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