eDiValo - Ecological Effects of Light on Diversity

Experimental site at GCEF under construction
Experimental site at GCEF under construction. Picture: A. Eskelinen

Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment and shifts in herbivore pressure can both lead to dramatic changes in the composition and diversity of terrestrial plant communities. Most of the hypotheses proposed to explain these changes relate to competition for light. We experimentally test the role of competition for light in mediating the effects of fertilization and exclusion of herbivory on diversity using novel methods (illumination by LED-lighting). We also address the extent to which climate change can reinforce or mitigate competition for light, and affect diversity. We use GCEF experimental facility as our platform.

We are working with the following approaches:

  1. We use seed additions and transplants to assess the roles of seedling establishment, plant survival and fitness in mediating the impacts of light under herbivory, nutrients and future climate.
  2. We use plant functional and physiological traits to predict changes in plant community composition and diversity under alleviation of competition for light, fertilization, herbivory and future climate.
LED lamps that we use to provide light to understory plants
LED lamps that we use to provide light to understory plants. Picture: A. Eskelinen