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Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s00442-013-2741-5
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Title (Primary) Invertebrate herbivory increases along an experimental gradient of grassland plant diversity
Author Loranger, H.; Weisser, W.W.; Ebeling, A.; Eggers, T.; De Luca, E.; Loranger, J.; Roscher, C.; Meyer, S.T.
Source Titel Oecologia
Year 2014
Department BZF
Volume 174
Issue 1
Page From 183
Page To 193
Language englisch
Keywords Biodiversity; Folivory; Jena Experiment; Species richness; Trophic interactions
UFZ wide themes RU1;
Abstract Plant diversity is a key driver of ecosystem functioning best documented for its influence on plant productivity. The strength and direction of plant diversity effects on species interactions across trophic levels are less clear. For example, with respect to the interactions between herbivorous invertebrates and plants, a number of competing hypotheses have been proposed that predict either increasing or decreasing community herbivory with increasing plant species richness. We investigated foliar herbivory rates and consumed leaf biomass along an experimental grassland plant diversity gradient in year eight after establishment. The gradient ranged from one to 60 plant species and manipulated also functional group richness (from one to four functional groups—legumes, grasses, small herbs, and tall herbs) and plant community composition. Measurements in monocultures of each plant species showed that functional groups differed in the quantity and quality of herbivory damage they experienced, with legumes being more damaged than grasses or non-legume herbs. In mixed plant communities, herbivory increased with plant diversity and the presence of two key plant functional groups in mixtures had a positive (legumes) and a negative (grasses) effect on levels of herbivory. Further, plant community biomass had a strong positive impact on consumed leaf biomass, but little effect on herbivory rates. Our results contribute detailed data from a well-established biodiversity experiment to a growing body of evidence suggesting that an increase of herbivory with increasing plant diversity is the rule rather than an exception. Considering documented effects of herbivory on other ecosystem functions and the increase of herbivory with plant diversity, levels of herbivory damage might not only be a result, but also a trigger within the diversity–productivity relationship.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Loranger, H., Weisser, W.W., Ebeling, A., Eggers, T., De Luca, E., Loranger, J., Roscher, C., Meyer, S.T. (2014):
Invertebrate herbivory increases along an experimental gradient of grassland plant diversity
Oecologia 174 (1), 183 - 193 10.1007/s00442-013-2741-5