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(1) to identify the determinants of the spatial distribution of root herbivores in grasslands and their relation to land use intensity

(2) to determine the impact of root herbivores on plant-mediated below-/aboveground interactions under different land use intensities

(3)  to determine root herbivore effects on plant performance and resulting community diversity under different land use intensities, and the relation of these effects to specific plant functional traits


(1a) On the regional scale the distribution of insect root herbivores is rather determined by soil parameters than by plant parameters, because unfavorable abiotic habitat conditions rule out their existence even if the food source is sufficiently abundant.

(1b) Insect root herbivores are highly aggregated under low land use intensity and more evenly distributed under high land use intensity, because they respond to the presence of their host plants and/ or soil conditions which are more heterogeneously distributed in sites under low land use than in sites under high land use intensity.

(1c) Horizontal migration of mobile insect root herbivores depends on food abundance, because travelling through soil is costly in terms of energy and predominantly done as a response to food depletion.

(2a) Land use intensity influences the impact of root herbivory on the metabolomic profile of Plantago lanceolata, because land use changes the growth form of P. lanceolata with consequences for induction of systemic defence and compensatory growth responses.

(2b) Land use intensity changes the plant-mediated effects of root herbivores on the aboveground food web, because the metabolic profile of P. lanceolata and aboveground insect communities are affected by land use.

(2c) Under high land use intensity root herbivory decreases the root colonization by AMF and pathogens less than under low land use intensity, because in intensively managed, highly fertilized systems competition between root herbivores, AMF and pathogens for plant derived carbon is alleviated.

(3a) The susceptibility of plant species to root herbivory can be predicted from the traits root palatability, root biomass and root foraging behavior, because these traits determine quality, quantity and distribution of root tissues in the soil and thereby the abundance and effect of root herbivores on plant growth.

(3b) Root herbivory influences species coexistence in plant communities, because root herbivores show feeding preferences according to plant specific traits (see 3a) and, thus, may influence the outcome of interspecific competition.

(3c) The effect of root herbivores on plant species coexistence is more pronounced under low than under high land use intensity, because (i) their presence/effect is more patchily concentrated under low land use intensity, thereby further strengthening the heterogeneity of sites (see 1a), (ii) plant species with strong root foraging behavior are expected to be more prone to root herbivores under heterogeneous conditions, due to the higher accumulation of root biomass in more nutrient rich patches, and therefore cannot become the dominant species.


Empirical field work
Experiments under controlled conditions
Simulation experiments/modelling


Doc
The impact of different land use intensities on the growth of Plantago lanceolata in the presence and absence of root herbivores
Buchholz Y. (2013): The impact of different land use intensities on the growth of Plantago lanceolata in the presence and absence of root herbivores. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Horizontale Migration von Elateridenlarven in einem Wurzeldichtegradienten unter Interaktion mit Konkurrenz
Grunz S. (2012): Horizontale Migration von Elateridenlarven in einem Wurzeldichtegradienten unter Interaktion mit Konkurrenz. Bachelorarbeit, FU Berlin
Doc
Wie beeinflussen AMF-Gemeinschaften, die an wurzelfressende Elateridenlarven (Agriotes spp.) adaptiert sind, eine Grünland Pflanzengesellschaft?
Heinsohn J.-P. (2011): Wie beeinflussen AMF-Gemeinschaften, die an wurzelfressende Elateridenlarven (Agriotes spp.) adaptiert sind, eine Grünland Pflanzengesellschaft? Bachelor thesis, Freie Universität Berlin
Doc
Wie bringen wir Empiriker und Modellierer in der funktionellen Biodiversitätsforschung zusammen?
Jeltsch F., Blaum N., Brose U., Chipperfield J. D., Clough Y., Farwig N., Geissler K., Graham C. H., Grimm V., Hickler T., Huth A., May F., Meyer K. M., Pagel J., Reineking B., Rillig M. C., Shea K., Schurr F. M., Schröder B., Tielbörger K., Weiss L., Wiegand K., Wiegand T., Wirth C., Zurell D. (2013): How can we bring together empiricists and modellers in functional biodiversity research? Basic and Applied Ecology Volume 14 (2), 93–101. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2013.01.001
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Modellierung des Effektes unterirdischen Fraßes auf die Biodiversität im Grünland
Körner K., Pfestorf H., May F., Jeltsch F. (2014): Modelling the effect of belowground herbivory on grassland diversity. Ecological Modelling 273, 79–85. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.10.025
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Horizontale Migration von Drahtwürmern (Agriotes spp.) entlang eines Wurzeldichtegradienten ohne intraspezifische Konkurrenz
Müller L. (2013): Horizontale Migration von Drahtwürmern (Agriotes spp.) entlang eines Wurzeldichtegradienten ohne intraspezifische Konkurrenz. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Land use intensity and insect root herbivores: from spatial pattern to plant community feedback
Pfestorf H. (2015): Land use intensity and insect root herbivores: from spatial pattern to plant community feedback. Dissertation, University Potsdam
Doc
Verknüpfung von Experimententen mit individuenbasierter Modellierung zeigt unterschiedliche Effekte von Wurzelherbivorie auf Koexistenz von Graslandpflanzen in Abhängigkeit von Nährstoffverfügbarkeit
Pfestorf H., Koerner K., Sonnemann I., Wurst S., Jeltsch F. (2016): Coupling experimental data with individual-based modelling reveals differential effects of root herbivory on grassland plant co-existence along a resource gradient. Journal of Vegetation Science 27, 269–282. doi: 10.1111/jvs.12357
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Funktionelle Eigenschaften von Pflanzengemeinschaften zeigen den Effekt der Landnutzung auf die Pflanzendiversität im Grünland
Pfestorf H., Weiß L., Boch S., Socher S. A., Müller J., Prati D., Schöning I., Weisser W. W., Fischer M., Jeltsch F. (2013): Community mean traits as additional indicators to monitor effects of land-use intensity on grassland plant diversity. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 15 (1), 1–11. doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2012.10.003
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Einfluss von Wurzelherbivoren auf die AMF-Kolonisation von Plantago lanceolataunter verschiedenen Landnutzungsintensitäten
Rautenberg D. (2014): Einfluss von Wurzelherbivoren auf die AMF-Kolonisation von Plantago lanceolataunter verschiedenen Landnutzungsintensitäten. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Horizontale Migration von Schnellkäferlarven (Agriotes spp.) wird durch lokale Nahrungsverfügbarkeit bestimmt
Sonnemann I., Grunz S., Wurst S. (2014): Horizontal migration of click beetle (Agriotes spp.) larvae depends on food availability. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 150 (2), 174–178. doi: 10.1111/eea.12150
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Veränderungen des Bodens durch wurzelfressende Insektenlarven beeinflussen die Produktivität einer Grünland-Pflanzengemeinschaft und bestimmen die Auswirkung erneuten Wurzelbefalls
Sonnemann I., Hempel S., Beutel M., Hanauer N., Reidinger S., Wurst S. (2013): The root herbivore history of the soil affects the productivity of a grassland plant community and determines plant response to new root herbivore attack. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056524
More information:  doi.org

Project in other funding periods

RootHerb II (Contributing project)
#Soil biology & Element Cycling  #2014 – 2017  

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
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