Cascading effects of gradual herbivore exclusion on soil arthropods in subalpine grasslands of different productivity
Einfluss der schrittweisen Auszäunung von Herbivoren auf subalpinen Weiden unterschiedlicher Produktivität auf die Gemeinschaften der Boden-Arthropoden
Project Number: CH-4879
| agricultural sciences|
| soil sciences|
| environmental sciences|
Grazing by vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores on aboveground plant biomass is one of the most important factors determining the abundance and species composition of belowground living animals in grassland ecosystems. Aboveground herbivores affect physical and chemical soil properties, as well as plant species diversity and composition, thereby changing the habitat and resource supply of the soil biota. The effect of these herbivores on their environment may, however, vary depending on their body size and the productivity of the ecosystem in question. I conducted an exclosure experiment in the Swiss National Park to evaluate how aboveground herbivores of different feeding guilds affect soil arthropods in two vegetation types of different productivity. Soil arthropods were more abundant in grasslands with higher plant biomass and therefore higher resource availability. Gradual exclusion of herbivores from only large to smaller ones led to a hump-shaped response of soil arthropods with highest abundance and species richness at intermediate grazing impact. Mechanisms leading to this hump-shaped response are discussed.
Raschein U 2012: Cascading effects of gradual herbivore exclusion on soil arthropods in subalpine grasslands of different productivity. Master thesis University of Zurich.
Last update: 3/28/18
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-4879