The Various Effects of Insects on Ecosystem Functioning

  • W. W. Weisser
  • E. Siemann
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 173)


Insects represent a dominant component of biodiversity in most terrestrial ecosystems yet they have largely been neglected in studies on the role of biodiversity in nutrient cycling, or, more generally, the functioning of ecosystems. The scarcity of manipulative studies on the role of insects in ecosystem processes contrasts with the expert knowledge and large body of research already available, in particular in the field of insect herbivory. Insects are likely to play a key role in mediating the relationship between plants and ecosystem processes by influencing the physiology, activity and population dynamics of plants. The aim of this book is two-fold: (1) to summarize the effects that insects have on ecosystem functioning, focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on herbivorous insects. Authors with extensive experience in the field of plant—insect interactions will discuss the importance of insects in ecosystem functioning; and (2) to provide a detailed discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of various techniques of manipulating insect herbivory. Thus, the book aims to provide both a theoretical basis and practical advice for future manipulative studies on biodiversity—ecosystem functioning. This introductory chapter briefly summarizes the various effects of insects on ecosystem functioning and introduces the chapters in the various sections of this book.


Ecosystem Function Nutrient Cycling Insect Herbivory Ecosystem Functioning Gypsy Moth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • W. W. Weisser
  • E. Siemann

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