Advertisement

Testing the Role of Insects in Ecosystem Functioning

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

Summary

Our knowledge of how herbivores impact ecosystem processes is rudimentary. More is known about how they influence plant diversity and composition than how ecosystem processes depend on herbivores and the changes they cause in plant communities. In particular, there is little theory, and few investigations, that incorporate insect herbivores, plants and ecosystem processes. We present models that make predictions about how herbivore effects on ecosystem processes vary with the diversity and functional types of plants and herbivores. In simple niche models, impacts of generalist herbivores on productivity varied little among ecosystems that differed in plant diversity. However, positive responses of non-host plant species released from competition with host plant species diminished the effects of specialist herbivores on productivity at higher levels of plant diversity. Resource models predicted that plant populations and ecosystem productivity will be more sensitive to belowground herbivory in soil resource-limited ecosystems and to aboveground herbivory in light-limited ecosystems. In the reverse situations, such as root herbivory in light-limited ecosystems, herbivory had little effect. In resource competition models, generalist root herbivory favoured plant species that are better belowground competitors. Generalist aboveground herbivory favoured better light competitors. Regardless of their mode of feeding (belowground vs. aboveground), specialist herbivores that fed on plants that were better light competitors in light-limited systems or on better soil resource competitors in soil resource-limited systems allowed competitors to invade and increased light or soil resource availability,respectively.In systems where both plant species co-existed in the absence of herbivores, specialist herbivores that fed on better light competitors favoured better soil resource competitors, allowing them to lower soil resource concentrations. Those that fed on better soil resource competitors decreased light availability by the same mechanism. Future research should place more emphasis on manipulations of insects and plants in combination and examine ecosystem responses.

Keywords

Plant Diversity Ecosystem Functioning Soil Resource Ecosystem Productivity Specialist Herbivore 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Brown DG (1994) Beetle folivory increases resource availability and alters plant invasion in monocultures of goldenrod. Ecology 75: 1673–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carson WP, Root RB (2000) Herbivory and plant species coexistence: community regulation by an outbreaking phytophagous insect. Ecol Monogr 70: 73–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chase JM, Leibold MA, Downing AL, Shurin JB (2000a) The effects of productivity, her-bivory, and plant species turnover in grassland food webs. Ecology 81: 2485–2497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chase JM, Leibold MA, Simms E (2000b) Plant tolerance and resistance in food webs: community-level predictions and evolutionary implications. Evol Ecol 14: 289–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coley PD, Bryant JP, Chapin FS (1985) Resource availability and plant antiherbivore defense. Science 230: 895–899CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Grover J (1994) Assembly rules for communities of nutrient-limited plants and specialist herbivores.Am Nat 143: 258–282Google Scholar
  7. Grover J (1995) Competition, herbivory, and enrichment: nutrient-based models for edible and inedible plants.Am Nat 145: 746–774Google Scholar
  8. Hector A, Schmid B, Beierkuhnlein MC, Caldeira M, Diemer M, Dimitrakopoulou P, Finn J, Freitas H, Giller P, Good J, Harris R, Hogberg P, Huss-Danell K, Joshi J, Jumpponen A, Korner C, Leadley PW, Loreau M, Minns A, Mulder C, O’Donovan G, Otway S, Pereira J, Prinz A, Read DJ, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Schultz E-D, Siamantziouras A, Spehn E, Terry A, Troumbis A, Woodward F, Yachi S, Lawton J (1999) Plant diversity and productivity experiments in European grasslands. Science 286: 1123–1127CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Holt RD, Grover J, Tilman D (1994) Simple rules for interspecific dominance in systems with exploitative and apparent competition.Am Nat 144: 741–771Google Scholar
  10. Kinzig AP, Pacala SW, Tilman D (eds) (2001) The functional consequences of biodiversity. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  11. Leibold MA (1996) A graphical model of keystone predators in food webs: trophic regulation of abundance, incidence, and diversity patterns in communities. Am Nat 147: 784–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Loreau M, Naeem S, Inchausti P (eds) (2002) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Louda SM, Rodman JE (1996) Insect herbivory as a major factor in the shade distribution of a native crucifer (Cardamine cordifolia A. Gray, bittercress ). J Ecol 84: 229–237Google Scholar
  14. Maschinski J, Whitham T (1989) The continuum of plant responses to herbivory: the influence of plant association, nutrient availability and timing.Am Nat 134: 1–19Google Scholar
  15. Meiners SJ, Handel SN, Pickett STA (2000) Tree seedling establishment under insect her-bivory: edge effects and interannual variation. Plant Ecol 151: 161–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pearson TRH, Burslem D, Goeriz RE, Dalling JW (2003) Interactions of gap size and herbivory on establishment, growth and survival of three species of neotropical pioneer trees. J Ecol 91: 785–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Root R (1973) Organization of a plant–arthropod association in simple and diverse habitats: the fauna of collards (Brassica oleracea). Ecol Monogr 43: 95–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schulze ED, Mooney HA (1993) Biodiversity and ecosystem function. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Siemann E, Tilman D, Haarstad J, Ritchie M (1998) Experimental tests of the dependence of arthropod diversity on plant diversity.Am Nat 152: 738–750Google Scholar
  20. Siemann E, Haarstad J, Tilman D (1999) Dynamics of plant and arthropod diversity during old field succession. Ecography 22: 1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stork NE (1988) Insect diversity: facts, fiction and speculation. Biol J Linn Soc 35: 321–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tilman D (1982) Resource competition and community structure. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  23. Tilman D (1988) Plant strategies and the dynamics and structure of plant communities. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  24. Tilman D (1999) The ecological consequences of changes in biodiversity: a search for general principles. Ecology 80: 1455–1474Google Scholar
  25. Tilman D, Knops J, Wedin D, Reich P, Ritchie M, Siemann E (1997a) The influence of functional diversity and composition on ecosystem processes. Science 277: 1300–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tilman D, Lehman CL, Thomson KT (1997b) Plant diversity and ecosystem productivity: theoretical considerations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94: 1857–1861CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Wardle DA (2002) Communities and ecosystems: linking the aboveground and below-ground components. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Siemann
  • W. W. Weisser

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations