Risch Anita Christina

Top-down effects of four herbivore groups of different body size on above- and belowground properties in grassland ecosystems of variable productivity (trophic cascades)

Project Number: 31003A_122009
Project Type: Research_Project
Project Duration: 04/01/2009 - 12/31/2014
Funding Source: SNSF ,
Project Leader: Prof. Anita Christina Risch
Head of Animal Ecology
Ökologie der Lebensgemeinschaften
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf
Phone: ; +41 (0) 44 739 21 11
FAX: +41 (0) 44 739 22 15
e-Mail: anita.risch(at)wsl.ch
Metadata: https://www.parcs.ch/snp/mmd_fullentry.php?docu_id=7810

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

soil sciences

grazer-grassland interactions, trophic levels, above- and belowground ecosystem properties, ecosystem productivity, body size, food web, microbial community composition, plant species abundance, vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores, competition, facilitation, grazing, aboveground plant biomass, root biomass, microbial biomass

The aboveground plant biomass produced in grassland ecosystems supports a multitude of vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. Vegetation productivity, vegetation nutritional quality, plant species richness, soil physical, chemical and biological properties or ecosystem nutrient cycling, in turn, can be affected by the quantity, quality and the composition of forage that herbivores ingest. The response of an ecosystem to grazing, is however, highly dependent on the productivity of the ecosystem studied and the grazing intensity it receives. The grazing intensity and the amount/quality of biomass consumed by a herbivore group, in turn, are generally related to body size: large ungulates, for example, consume greater proportions of the total biomass produced, but are less selective than small vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. Consequently, the sum of the effects of herbivores on ecosystem parameters depends on the density and composition of the herbivore community as well as the productivity of an ecosystem. However, most of the research conducted on grazer-grassland interactions only considered one or two herbivore groups of different body size. We are aware of only four studies that assessed how three or more herbivore groups of different body size interacted with the grassland ecosystem they inhabit. In these studies the investigations were restricted to the effects of herbivores i) on plant-animal interactions (two trophic levels) in one or several vegetation types only or ii) plant-animal-soil interactions in a single vegetation type only. Consequently, our understanding on the functioning of grazer-grassland interactions considering the combined effect of several herbivore groups within different vegetation types and across several trophic levels is still very limited.
To assess a multitude of potential interactions in a grassland ecosystem we propose to set up an experimental field-design to determine single and combined effects of four herbivore groups of distinctively different body size and foraging behavior in three different vegetation types (nutrient-rich short-grass, nutrient-poor tall-grass, intermediate mixed-grass) on plant, root and microbial biomass and nutrient content (nitrogen and phosphorus) as well as on the composition of plant and microbial communities. We will investigate these effects after one, two and three years of herbivore exclusion, respectively. The herbivore groups will include large (>10kg; red deer and chamois), medium (0.5 to 10 kg; marmots), and small (10 to 500 g; small rodents) vertebrate as well as invertebrate (< 10g) herbivores. We manipulate the system by excluding the different herbivore groups using well-established and tested techniques. Choosing the Swiss National Park as study area allows us to exclude any disturbance by human activities.

Firn J., Schütz M., Nguyen H., Risch A.C., 2017: Herbivores sculpt leaf traits differently depending on life form and land-use history. Ecology 98, 239-252.

Haynes A.G., Schütz M., Buchmann N., Page-Dumroese D.S., Busse M.D., Risch A.C., 2014: Linkages between grazing history and herbivore exclusion on decomposition rates in mineral soils of subalpine grasslands. Plant and Soil 374, 579-591.

Hodel M., Schütz M., Vandegehuchte M.L., Frey B., Albrecht M., Busse M.D., Risch A.C., 2014: Does the aboveground herbivore assemblage influence soil bacterial community composition and richness in subalpine grasslands? Microbial Ecology 68, 584-595.

Koerner S.E., Smith M.D., Burkepile D.E., Hanan N.P., Avolio M.L., Collins S.L., Knapp A.K., Lemoine N.P., Forrestel E.J., Eby S., Thompson D.I., Aguado-Santacruz G., Anderson J.P., Anderson T.M., Angassa A., Badgi S., Bakker E.S., Bastin G., Baur L.E., Beever E., Bohlen P.J., Boughton E., Canestro D., Cesa A., Chaneton E., Cheng J., D’Antonio C.M., Deleglise C., Dembéle F., Dorrough J., Eldridge D., Fernandez-Going B., Fernandez-Lugo S., Fraser L.H., Freedman B., Garcia-Salgado G., Goheen J., Guo L., Husheer S., Karembé M., Knobs J.M.H., Kraaij T., Kulmatiski A., Kytöviita M.-M., Lezama F., Loucougaray G., Loydi A., Milchunas D., Milton S., Morgan J.W., Moxham C., Nehring K.C., Olff H., Palmer T.M., Rebollo S., Riginos C., Risch A.C., Rueda M., Sankaran M., Sasaki T., Schoenecker K., Schultz N., Schütz M., Schwabe A., Siebert F., Smit C., Stahlheber K., Storm C., Strong D., Su J., Tiruvaimozhi Y.V., Tyler C., Val J., Vandegehuchte M.L., Veblen K.E., Vermeire L., Ward D., Wu J., Young T.P., Yu Q., ZelikovaT.J., 2018: Change in dominance determines. herbivore effects on plant biodiversity. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2, 1925-1932.

Perez Hidalgo N., Vandegehuchte M.L., Schütz M., Risch A.C., 2016: Description of the sexuales of Myzodium modestum (Hotte) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) discovered in the Swiss Alps. Zootaxa 4196, 589-596.

Risch A.C., Ochoa Huseo R., van der Putten W.H., Bump J.K., Busse M.D., Frey B., Gwiazdowicz D.J., Page-Dumroese D.S., Vandegehuchte M.L., Zimmermann S., Schütz M., 2018: Size-dependent loss of aboveground animals differently affects grassland ecosystem coupling and functions. Nature Communications 9, 3684.

Risch A.C., Schütz M., Vandegehuchte M.L., Van der Putten W.H., Duyts H., Raschein U., Gwiazdowicz D.J., Busse M.D., Page-Dumroese D.S., Zimmermann S., 2015: Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impact on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands. Ecology 96, 3312-3322.

Risch A.C., Schütz M., 2015: Ökosystemforschung im Nationalpark: Von Produzenten und Konsumenten zu Nahrungsnetzen. Nationalpark-Forschung in der Schweiz 103, 62-66.

Risch A.C., Haynes A.G., Busse M.D., Fili F., Schütz M., 2013: The response of soil CO2 fluxes to progressively excluding vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores depends on ecosystem type. Ecosystems 16, 1192-1202.

Risch A.C., Haynes A.G., Schütz M., 2013: Beziehungsnetze auf Weiden: von Pflanzen und Pflanzenfressern. In: Haller H., Eisenhut A., Haller R.A. (eds.): Atlas des Schweizerischen Nationalparks. Haupt, Bern.

Schütz M., Haynes A.G., Spalinger L.C., Risch A.C., 2013: Heuschrecken von 1951 bis heute: Ausbreitung im Nationalpark wegen globaler Erwärmung? In: Haller H., Eisenhut A., Haller R.A. (eds.): Atlas des Schweizerischen Nationalparks. Haupt, Bern.

Schütz M., Raschein U., Risch A.C., 2013: Nahrungsnetze im Boden: die kaum bekannten Lebensgemeinschaften. In: Haller H., Eisenhut A., Haller R.A. (eds.): Atlas des Schweizerischen Nationalparks. Haupt, Bern.

Spalinger L.C., Haynes A.G., Schütz M., Risch A.C., 2012: Impact of wid ungulate grazing on Orthoptera abundance and diversity in subalpine grasslands. Insect Conservation and Diversity 5, 444-452.

Vandegehuchte M.L., Trivellone V., Schütz M., Firn J., de Schaetzen F., Risch A.C., 2018: Mammalian herbivores affect leafhoppers associated with specific plant functional types at different time scales. Functional Ecology 32, 545-555.

Vandegehuchte M.L., van der Putten W.H., Duyts H., Schütz M., Risch A.C., 2017: Aboveground mammal and invertebrate exclusions cause consistent changes in soil food webs of two subalpine grassland types, but mechanisms are system-specific. Oikos 126, 212-223.

Vandegehuchte M.L., Schütz M., De Schaetzen F., Risch A.C., 2017: Mammal-induced trophic cascades in invertebrate food webs are modulated by grazing intensity in subalpine grassland. Journal of Animal Ecology 86, 1434-1446.

Wang X., Steiner M., Schütz M., Vandegehuchte M.L., Risch A.C., 2018: Progressively excluding mammalian herbivores of different body size affect community and trait structure of carabid beetles. Oikos 127, 1515-1525.

Source of Information: NF Import 2009 (30.04.2009)

Last update: 12/17/18
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-31003A_122009

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