Mass mortality events and the role of necrophagous invertebrates.
Additional Document Info
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.