Thesis Progress at CES on 9 August 2017 at 10:30 am titled "Transformation of large herbivore dung during the process of decomposition in tropical deciduous forest" by Ekta Chaudhary from CES, IISc
Herbivore dung can be an important source of nutrients for soil. As most of the studies looking at the nutrient contribution from herbivore dung are based on agriculture with a focus on cattle dung, not much can be said about natural systems like tropical forests. In my thesis, I have looked at two aspects of herbivore dung decay: dung insect communities and dung-soil nutrient cycle. In order to understand the dynamics of the dung-soil nutrient cycle, we explored changes in dung nutrient composition above the soil and input of nutrients to the soil.
For my upcoming presentation, I will talk about second objective of my thesis, where I will be discussing transformation of dung above soil during the process of decay. Existing literature on biogeochemical changes during decay is limited to total carbon and total nitrogen. In this work, we have expanded existing knowledge with various important analyses: changes in carbon specific compounds such as lignin (recalcitrant component of dung) and sugar (easily decomposable), along with analytical pyrolysis to understand the overall changes. We explored the importance of initial nutrient composition in driving the rate of decomposition along with other factors such as seasonal changes and habitat type.