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Title (Primary) Plant density can increase invertebrate postdispersal seed predation in an experimental grassland community
Author Dudenhöffer, J.-H.; Pufal, G.; Roscher, C.; Klein, A.-M.;
Journal Ecology and Evolution
Year 2016
Department iDiv; PHYDIV;
Volume 6
Issue 11
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T11;
Keywords Arthropods; granivory; Janzen–Connell effects; plant species richness; plant–insect interaction; slugs
UFZ wide themes RU1
Abstract Janzen–Connell effects are negative effects on the survival of a plant's progeny at high conspecific densities or close to its conspecifics. Although the role of Janzen–Connell effects on the maintenance of plant diversity was frequently studied, only few studies targeted Janzen–Connell effects via postdispersal seed predation in temperate grassland systems. We examined effects of conspecific density (abundance of conspecific adult plants) on postdispersal seed predation by invertebrates of three grassland species (Centaurea jacea, Geranium pratense, and Knautia arvensis) in experimental plant communities. Additionally, we examined the impact of plant species richness and different seed predator communities on total and relative seed predation (= seed predation of one plant species relative to others). We offered seeds in an exclusion experiment, where treatments allowed access for (1) arthropods and slugs, (2) arthropods only, (3) small arthropods only, and (4) slugs only. Treatments were placed in plots covering a gradient of abundance of conspecific adults at different levels of plant species richness (1, 2, 3, 4, 8 species). Two of the plant species (C. jacea and K. arvensis) experienced higher rates of seed predation and relative predation with increasing abundance of conspecific adults. For C. jacea, this effect was mitigated with increasing plant species richness. Differences in seed predator communities shifted seed predation between the plant species and changed the magnitude of seed predation of one plant species relative to the others. We exemplify density-dependent increase in seed predation via invertebrates in grassland communities shaping both the total magnitude of species-specific seed predation and seed predation of one species relative to others. Further differences in seed predator groups shift the magnitude of seed predation between different plant species. This highlights the importance of invertebrate seed predation to structure grasslands via density-dependent effects and differing preferences of consumer groups.
ID 17446
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Dudenhöffer, J.-H., Pufal, G., Roscher, C., Klein, A.-M. (2016):
Plant density can increase invertebrate postdispersal seed predation in an experimental grassland community
Ecol. Evol. 6 (11), 3796 - 3807