Mass mortality events and the role of necrophagous invertebrates
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Scale is important in understanding and applying concepts in ecology. Historically, the mechanisms regulating necrophagous arthropod community structure have been well explored on a single vertebrate carcass. However, practically nothing is known of whether such findings can be extrapolated to cases where large numbers of carcasses have been introduced into an ecosystem at a single time point. With the increasing incidences of mass mortality events (MMEs), understanding how scale effects community assembly of necrophagous insects and the resulting bottom-up or top-down effects on the impacted ecosystem are of utmost importance. Unfortunately, MMEs are unpredictable, making their study nearly impossible within a robust experimental framework. The objectives of this paper are to provide a brief overview of what is known with regards to ecological responses to carrion, opine on the ramifications of MMEs on local communities, and provide a brief overview of knowledge gaps, avenues for future research, and a potential study systems for rigorous MME experiments.
author list (cited authors)
Tomberlin, J. K., Barton, B. T., Lashley, M. A., & Jordan, H. R.