9407297 Miller Very little research has been conducted in the tropics at the whole-community level. It is important to understand the role of keystone species in trophic and other interactions between tropical organisms. This project addresses the role of fig trees as keystone species in New Guinean wet forests. The goals are to 1) describe the insect herbivore faunas associated with ten local fig species and evaluate the food web connnections between these herbivores and other members of the forest community, 2) contrast the characteristics and community structure of associated herbivorous insects of keystone and non-keystone fig species, and 3) develop predictive abilities about the host-specificity and species richness of fig herbivores from easily measured host variables. This research will improve our understanding of the function of tropical forest ecosystems. The results will have application in conservation biology, especially in the design and management of tropical forest reserves.