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sp1 Multiple Mechanisms of Species Coexistence



Explaining the mechanisms underlying species coexistence is essential to understand the maintenance of biodiversity at local scale and the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. The goal of our subproject is to analyse the time course of population dynamics in the plant communities of the Jena Experiment and to test for multiple mechanisms of species coexistence. We will apply competitive network theory by analysing whether the possibility to predict species` competitive ranks from pair-wise competition matrices decreases with increasing plant diversity. Based on recent coexistence theory, we will test for negative frequency-dependence of population growth as an indicator of stabilizing niche differences. We will explore the effects of various predictors related to stabilizing mechanisms such as functional trait differences among species, frequency-dependent attack of natural enemies (herbivores, fungal pathogens) and species-specific responses to environmental variation as well as the importance of relative fitness differences derived from seed and seedling demographic rates. To assess how species coexistence relates to ecosystem functioning, we will explore the consequences of intransitivity in competition networks and mean rank shifts in species abundances for multiple ecosystem functions and their temporal variability.

Principal Investigator:

PD Dr. Christiane Roscher
UFZ
Email / Web
Tel.: +49.3455.58.5317

Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer
University of Bern
Email / Web
Tel.: +49.41.31.631.4943

Postdoc:

Dr. Yanhao Feng
iDiv & UFZ
Email/ Web