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Plant density can increase invertebrate postdispersal seed predation in an experimental grassland community

Plant density can increase invertebrate postdispersal seed predation in an experimental grassland community

Dudenhöffer, Jan-Hendrik ORCID: 0000-0003-1548-1436, Pufal, Gesine, Roscher, Christiane and Klein, Alexandra-Maria (2016) Plant density can increase invertebrate postdispersal seed predation in an experimental grassland community. Ecology and Evolution, 6 (11). pp. 3796-3807. ISSN 2045-7758 (Online) (doi:10.1002/ece3.2039)

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Abstract

Janzen–Connell effects are negative effects on the survival of a plant’s progeny at high conspecific densities or close to its conspecifics. Although the role of Janzen–Connell effects on the maintenance of plant diversity was frequently studied, only few studies targeted Janzen–Connell effects via postdispersal seed predation in temperate grassland systems. We examined effects of conspecific density (abundance of conspecific adult plants) on postdispersal seed predation by invertebrates of three grassland species (Centaurea jacea, Geranium pratense, and Knautia arvensis) in experimental plant communities. Additionally, we examined the impact of plant species richness and different seed predator communities on total and relative seed predation (= seed predation of one plant species relative to others). We offered seeds in an exclusion experiment, where treatments allowed access for (1) arthropods and slugs, (2) arthropods only, (3) small arthropods only, and (4) slugs only. Treatments were placed in plots covering a gradient of abundance of conspecific adults at different levels of plant species richness (1, 2, 3, 4, 8 species). Two of the plant species (C. jacea and K. arvensis) experienced higher rates of seed predation and relative predation with increasing abundance of conspecific adults. For C. jacea, this effect was mitigated with increasing plant species richness. Differences in seed predator communities shifted seed predation between the plant species and changed the magnitude of seed predation of one plant species relative to the others. We exemplify density-dependent increase in seed predation via invertebrates in grassland communities shaping both the total magnitude of species-specific seed predation and seed predation of one species relative to others. Further differences in seed predator groups shift the magnitude of seed predation between different plant species. This highlights the importance of invertebrate seed predation to structure grasslands via density-dependent effects and differing preferences of consumer groups.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: arthropods, granivory, Janzen-Connell effects, plant-insect interaction, plant species richness, slugs
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 12:44
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT b
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19864

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