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Land use intensification is considered a threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, but mechanisms and consequences are poorly understood. The goal of the proposed project is to understand how response diversity – in addition to the more commonly studied biodiversity and functional diversity – changes with land use. Response diversity is the prerequisite for the resilience of ecosystem functions, suggesting that the insurance of a system against disturbance relies on functionally ‘redundant’ species that differ in their responses to environmental changes.
We will investigate land use impacts on functional redundancy as well as response diversity, using plant-pollinator and plant-herbivore interaction networks as target systems.


The general hypothesis tested in this project is that land use intensity not only leads to a decrease in biodiversity, it also decreases
H1: the functional redundancy and
H2: the response diversity in communities.
These changes will correspond to
H3: a poorer resilience of the system to climate change


We
(1) survey quantitative plant-pollinator networks in grasslands and plant-herbivore networks in forests in the experimental plots,
(2) define functionally ‘redundant’ species for specified functions (pollination, herbivory) in each plot via network analysis, e.g. all insect species that pollinate a certain plant species or consume a certain tree species,
(3) relate changes in species relative activity densities to actual temperature conditions
(4) use laboratory mesocosm experiments on survival and performance under different temperature / humidity regimes for selected species, and
(5) define and compile response traits (phylogenetic, morphological, physiological and behavioural) to predict interspecific variation in responses.


Doc
Asynchronie ist für stabile Artengemeinschaften noch wichtiger als Diversität
Blüthgen N., Simons N., Jung K, Prati D., Renner S., Boch S., Fischer M., Hölzel N., Klaus V. H., Kleinebecker T., Tschapka M., Weisser W. W., Gossner M. M. (2016): Land use imperils plant and animal community stability through changes in asynchrony rather than diversity. Nature Communications 7:10697. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10697
More information:  doi.org
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Einfluss von Landnutzung auf die Diversität, Komposition und Spezialisierung von Pflanzen und ihren Blütenbesuchern im Grünland
Jost A. (2014): Einfluss von Landnutzung auf die Diversität, Komposition und Spezialisierung von Pflanzen und ihren Blütenbesuchern im Grünland. Thesis, TU Darmstadt
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Kühsel S. (2015): Pollinator trait diversity: functional implications at different land-use intensities and environmental conditions. Dissertation, TU Darmstadt
More information:  tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de
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Insektenvielfalt stabilisiert Ökosysteme: Blütenbestäuber an kalten und heißen Tagen
Kühsel S., Blüthgen N. (2015): High diversity stabilizes the thermal resilience of pollinator communities in intensively managed grasslands. Nature Communications 6:7989. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8989
More information:  doi.org
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Kühsel S., Brückner A. K., Schmelzle S., Heethoff M., Blüthgen N. (2017): Surface area–volume ratios in insects. Insect Science 24 (5), 829–841. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12362
More information:  doi.org
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Mangels J. (2017): Land use and climate change: Anthropogenic effects on arthropod communities and functional traits. Dissertation, TU Darmstadt
More information:  tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de
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Wie werden baumfressende Insekten durch den Buchenanteil im Wald und deren Abholzung beeinflusst?
Mangels J., Blüthgen N., Frank K., Grassein F., Hilpert A., Mody K. (2015): Tree Species Composition and Harvest Intensity Affect Herbivore Density and Leaf Damage on Beech, Fagus sylvatica, in Different Landscape Contexts. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126140. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126140
More information:  doi.org
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Mangels J., Fiedler K., Schneider F., Blüthgen N. (2017): Diversity and trait composition of moths respond to land-use intensity in grasslands: Generalists replace specialists. Biological Conservation 26 (14), 3385–3405. doi: 10.1007/s10531-017-1411-z
More information:  doi.org

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen
Technische Universität Darmstadt
PD Dr. Karsten Mody
Employee
PD Dr. Karsten Mody
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