ISSN: 1659-2751



Spatial Distribution of Carbon, Nitrate and Ammonium in Biogenic Structures in a Secondary Forest in the Tropical Region of Costa Rica


Some termite and ant species are capable of removing soil particles and producing organic-mineral structures called biogenic structures. The chemical characteristics, abundance, size, and especially the dynamic production and degradation of biogenic structures, are parameters used to evaluate the influence of these macroinvertebrates in the soil. The spatial distribution of C, NO3- y NH4+ on biogenic structures produced by Nasutitermes corniger Motschulsky (Isoptera:Termitidae) and Atta cephalotes L. (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) were determined in a secondary forest in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. The C and NH4+content was higher on the arboreal termite nests produced by N. corniger, than in the surrounding soil (CS). Also, the NH4+ was the predominant N mineral form on the arboreal termite nests. The C, NO3- and NH4+ content stored at biogenic structures produced by A. cephalotes and in the surrounding soil (CS) were similar. The vertical distribution of C, NO3- and NH4+ stored at the first 30 cm of the soil was also measured. The total C stored at this soil depth was 96.98 Mg ha-1, with 41.5 % concentrated on the top soil layer (10 cm). The total N, NO3- and NH4+ as well as C decreased significantly after the first 10 cm of soil depth.

Key words: Ammonium, secondary forest, carbon, biogenic structures, Nasutitermes corniger, nitrate.

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