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Ecosystem resilience is an essential factor underlying the sustained production of natural resources and ecosystem services in complex systems faced with uncertainty and surprise. Root herbivory can have significant impact on grassland productivity and biodiversity under constant conditions. However, there is yet no knowledge on root herbivory impact on plant community recovery after disturbances, short-term stresses or nutrient pulses. Our project aims at assessing the role of root herbivory in plant community resilience under different land use intensities.


Root herbivore effects on grassland resilience depend on:

  • the nature of root herbivory
    including intensity / timing / distribution / feeding preference
    e.g. feeding preference for abundant plant species promotes recovery of species diversity
  • the nature of disturbance/stress
    affecting predominantly plants / affecting also root herbivores / promoting dominance
    of specific plant species
    e.g. comprehensive stress that affects not only plants but also root herbivores generates a
    lag phase in root herbivore activity and weakens their impact
  • the nature of the system
    including plant diversity / nutrient level
    e.g. root herbivory has strong effects in nutrient rich systems due to its impact on
    competition for space

Exploring the dynamic interactions and feedbacks between root herbivores and grassland plant communities after different types of disturbances and stresses requires a mechanistic approach. We will determine general aspects of root herbivore impact on plant community recovery in controlled greenhouse experiments and monitor plant and root herbivore abundance and community composition after disturbance/stress in field surveys. In addition, we will develop and apply process-based simulation models of both, root herbivores and the plant community. In a next step these models will be coupled to systematically investigate the role of plant-herbivore interactions for the resilience of the coupled system. We will focus on root herbivory by click beetle larvae of the genus Agriotes as widespread and abundant generalist root herbivores in European grasslands.


Doc
Einsatz von individualbasierten Modellen zum Verständnis der Grasland-Diversität und -Resilienz im Anthropozän
Crawford M. (2020): Using individual-based modeling to understand grassland diversity and resilience in the Anthropocene. Dissertation, University of Potsdam
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Crawford M., Jeltsch F., May F., Grimm V., Schlägel U. (2019): Intraspecific trait variation increases species diversity in a trait-based grassland model. Oikos 128 (3), 441-455. doi: 10.1111/oik.05567
More information:  doi.org
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Crawford M., Schlägel U. E., May F., Sonnemann I., Grimm V., Wurst S., Jeltsch F. (2021): While shoot herbivores reduce, root herbivores increase nutrient enrichment’s impact on diversity in a grassland model. Ecology 102 (5), e03333. doi: 10.1002/ecy.3333
More information:  doi.org
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Das Fraß- Verhalten von Elateriden- Larven verschiedener Größenklassen im Wurzelsystem von wolligem Honiggras (Holcus lanatus)
Gromulat M. (2017): Das Fraß- Verhalten von Elateriden- Larven verschiedener Größenklassen im Wurzelsystem von wolligem Honiggras (Holcus lanatus). Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Regeneration eines Wurzelherbivoren – Grünlandpflanzensystems: Konsequenzen der Wurzelherbivorie für die Pflanzengemeinschaft
Grunz S. (2015): Regeneration eines Wurzelherbivoren - Grünlandpflanzensystems: Konsequenzen der Wurzelherbivorie für die Pflanzengemeinschaft. Master thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Der Einfluss wurzelfressender Insektenlarven auf Interaktionen von Pflanzen mit ober- und unterirdisch lebenden Organismen wird durch die Landnutzungsintensität moduliert
Sonnemann I., Buchholz Y., Rautenberg D., Wurst S. (2016): Land use intensity modulates the impact of root herbivores on plant interactions with above- and below-ground organisms. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 219, 26–31. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.12.003
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Wurzelfressende Insektenlarven assoziieren mit großen, schnellwachsenden Pflanzen
Sonnemann I., Pfestorf H., Jeltsch F., Wurst S. (2015): Community- Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance. PLoS ONE 10 (10): e0141148. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141148
More information:  doi.org

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Florian Jeltsch
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Florian Jeltsch
Universität Potsdam
Prof. Dr. Susanne Wurst
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Susanne Wurst
Dr. Ilja Sonnemann
Employee
Dr. Ilja Sonnemann
Michael Crawford
Employee
Michael Crawford
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