Hintergrundbild mit Feldern

sp4 Plant population dynamics

Plant community assembly is a result of population dynamics of individual species. Longer-term compensatory dynamics among species form the basis for higher community stability at increasing species richness and resilience against environmental variation, but the population-biological mechanisms behind asynchronous species dynamics and differences between species have not been addressed so far in the context of experimental biodiversity research. In this subproject, we study effects of community diversity and composition on population dynamics and life-history traits characterizing different stages of the plant life-cycle:

sp4 (c) Roscher 2011

  1. We study traits characterizing the long-term persistence mechanisms of plant populations, i.e. the longevity of adult plant individuals (using anatomical and morphological features) and of seeds in the seed bank, in response to increasing plant diversity.
  2. We determine the major vital rates of populations considering density, stage-class structure, seed set, seed quality, recruitment from seeds, seed survival and small-scale spatial dynamics, as a function of increasing plant diversity.
  3. Based on a subset of species, we analyse the role of genetic differentiation for variation in plant functional traits and plant performance in response to increasing plant diversity.

Together, the collected data will allow us to quantify the major components of the plant life cycle of the 60 experimental species. The obtained information on population dynamics and their relationships to plant community diversity and composition in this subproject is fundamental for an understanding of community assembly and thus is not only relevant in its own right but will also support further synthesis on interactions with other trophic levels and resource availability.

Principal Investigator:

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

Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer
University of Bern
Email / Web
Tel.: ++41.31.631.49.43

Participating head

Prof. Hans de Kroon
University of Nijmegen
Tel.: ++31.24.365.3380