A few days ago, a good friend wrote to ask what was known about the response of tropical soil invertebrates to drought. My first response was “precious little”, and then I remembered a cool article by Diana Wheeler and Sally Levings. The back story was that Levings did here dissertation work on BCI over a span of time that included a pretty awful El Nino drought. Back then BCI had a far-sighted program of ecological monitoring which included extracting soil litter for invertebrates. Wheeler collaborated with Levings years later to write the attached paper (as of this post, cited 4 times).
Funny, if this was published today, in an era of climate change, it would doubtless have wound up in a more high profile venue than Advances in Myrmecology. It is the curse of our times that understanding how ecosystems respond to highly unusual climate events is gaining traction. I attach Wheeler and Levings (1988) and another fine paper from Levings dissertation work that deserves to be more widely known. Enjoy.
Wheeler, Diana E., and Sally C. Levings. “The impact of the 1983 El Nino drought on the litter arthropods of Barra Colorado Island, Panama.” Advances in myrmecology (1988): 309-326.
Levings, S. C., and D. M. Windsor. “Litter arthropod populations in a tropical deciduous forest: relationships between years and arthropod groups.” The Journal of Animal Ecology (1985): 61-69.