Advanced

Above- and belowground insect herbivory modifies the response of a grassland plant community to nitrogen eutrophication

Borgström, Pernilla LU ; Strengbom, Joachim ; Marini, Lorenzo ; Viketoft, Maria and Bommarco, Riccardo (2017) In Ecology 98(2). p.545-554
Abstract
Understanding the role that species interactions play in determining the rate and direction of ecosystem change due to nitrogen (N) eutrophication is important for predicting the consequences of global change. Insects might play a major role in this context. They consume substantial amounts of plant biomass and can alter competitive interactions among plants, indirectly shaping plant community composition. Nitrogen eutrophication affects plant communities globally, but there is limited experimental evidence of how insect herbivory modifies plant community response to raised N levels. Even less is known about the roles of above‐ and belowground herbivory in shaping plant communities, and how the interaction between the two might modify a... (More)
Understanding the role that species interactions play in determining the rate and direction of ecosystem change due to nitrogen (N) eutrophication is important for predicting the consequences of global change. Insects might play a major role in this context. They consume substantial amounts of plant biomass and can alter competitive interactions among plants, indirectly shaping plant community composition. Nitrogen eutrophication affects plant communities globally, but there is limited experimental evidence of how insect herbivory modifies plant community response to raised N levels. Even less is known about the roles of above‐ and belowground herbivory in shaping plant communities, and how the interaction between the two might modify a plant community's response to N eutrophication. We conducted a 3‐yr field experiment where grassland plant communities were subjected to above‐ and belowground insect herbivory with and without N addition, in a full‐factorial design. We found that herbivory modified plant community responses to N addition. Aboveground herbivory decreased aboveground plant community biomass by 21%, but only at elevated N. When combined, above‐ and belowground herbivory had a stronger negative effect on plant community biomass at ambient N (11% decrease) than at elevated N (4% decrease). In addition, herbivory shifted the functional composition of the plant community, and the magnitude of the shifts depended on the N level. The N and herbivory treatments synergistically conferred a competitive advantage to forbs, which benefited when both herbivory types were present at elevated N. Evenness among the plant species groups increased when aboveground herbivory was present, but N addition attenuated this increase. Our results demonstrate that a deeper understanding of how plant–herbivore interactions above and below ground shape the composition of a plant community is crucial for making reliable predictions about the ecological consequences of global change. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; ; ; and
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Ecology
volume
98
issue
2
pages
10 pages
publisher
Ecological Society of America
external identifiers
  • scopus:85011312024
ISSN
0012-9658
DOI
10.1002/ecy.1667
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
9281d11c-32cd-4cdf-b4b6-bd8606a9240f
date added to LUP
2019-04-05 14:27:56
date last changed
2020-09-30 06:04:39
@article{9281d11c-32cd-4cdf-b4b6-bd8606a9240f,
  abstract     = {Understanding the role that species interactions play in determining the rate and direction of ecosystem change due to nitrogen (N) eutrophication is important for predicting the consequences of global change. Insects might play a major role in this context. They consume substantial amounts of plant biomass and can alter competitive interactions among plants, indirectly shaping plant community composition. Nitrogen eutrophication affects plant communities globally, but there is limited experimental evidence of how insect herbivory modifies plant community response to raised N levels. Even less is known about the roles of above‐ and belowground herbivory in shaping plant communities, and how the interaction between the two might modify a plant community's response to N eutrophication. We conducted a 3‐yr field experiment where grassland plant communities were subjected to above‐ and belowground insect herbivory with and without N addition, in a full‐factorial design. We found that herbivory modified plant community responses to N addition. Aboveground herbivory decreased aboveground plant community biomass by 21%, but only at elevated N. When combined, above‐ and belowground herbivory had a stronger negative effect on plant community biomass at ambient N (11% decrease) than at elevated N (4% decrease). In addition, herbivory shifted the functional composition of the plant community, and the magnitude of the shifts depended on the N level. The N and herbivory treatments synergistically conferred a competitive advantage to forbs, which benefited when both herbivory types were present at elevated N. Evenness among the plant species groups increased when aboveground herbivory was present, but N addition attenuated this increase. Our results demonstrate that a deeper understanding of how plant–herbivore interactions above and below ground shape the composition of a plant community is crucial for making reliable predictions about the ecological consequences of global change.},
  author       = {Borgström, Pernilla and Strengbom, Joachim and Marini, Lorenzo and Viketoft, Maria and Bommarco, Riccardo},
  issn         = {0012-9658},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {545--554},
  publisher    = {Ecological Society of America},
  series       = {Ecology},
  title        = {Above- and belowground insect herbivory modifies the response of a grassland plant community to nitrogen eutrophication},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1667},
  doi          = {10.1002/ecy.1667},
  volume       = {98},
  year         = {2017},
}