||Functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants drive herbivory in highly diverse forests
||Schuldt, A.; Assmann, T.; Bruelheide, B.; Durka, W.
; Eichenberg, D.; Härdtle, W.; Kröber, W.; Michalski, S.G.; Purschke, O.
||BEF-China; biodiversity; ecosystem functioning; functional traits; negative density dependence; plant–insect interactions; species richness
|UFZ wide themes
loss may alter ecosystem processes, such as herbivory, a key driver of
ecological functions in species-rich (sub)tropical forests. However, the
mechanisms underlying such biodiversity effects remain poorly explored,
as mostly effects of species richness – a very basic biodiversity
measure – have been studied. Here, we analyze to what extent the
functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities affect
herbivory along a diversity gradient in a subtropical forest.
assessed the relative effects of morphological and chemical leaf traits
and of plant phylogenetic diversity on individual-level variation in
herbivory of dominant woody plant species across 27 forest stands in
- Individual-level variation in herbivory was
best explained by multivariate, community-level diversity of leaf
chemical traits, in combination with community-weighted means of single
traits and species-specific phylodiversity measures. These findings
deviate from those based solely on trait variation within individual
- Our results indicate a strong impact of generalist
herbivores and highlight the need to assess food-web specialization to
determine the direction of biodiversity effects. With increasing plant
species loss, but particularly with the concomitant loss of functional
and phylogenetic diversity in these forests, the impact of herbivores
will probably decrease – with consequences for the herbivore-mediated
regulation of ecosystem functions.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Schuldt, A., Assmann, T., Bruelheide, B., Durka, W., Eichenberg, D., Härdtle, W., Kröber, W., Michalski, S.G., Purschke, O. (2014):
Functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants drive herbivory in highly diverse forests
New Phytol. 202 (3), 864 - 873