Eat more or digest better? Possible responses of micro-crustaceans to low quality food

Alfred Burian, Julia Grosse, Monika Winder, Henricus T. S. Boschker Animals are often faced with non-optimal and very variable feeding conditions. Besides food quantity also the quality of food items can substantially change depending on environmental conditions and the identity of prey species. Successful predators have to respond to those changes. They may either increase…

Earthworms increase plant biomass more in soil with no earthworm legacy and favor late successional species in competition

Ondřej Mudrák and Jan Frouz Earthworms greatly affect plant communities. They create persistent soil structures enriched by nutrients that improve the conditions for plant growth and modify competition between plant species. We therefore hypothesized that earthworm activity would be more important in early stages of the primary succession (development of ecosystem on bare substrate), when…

Effects of mammals on specialized leafhoppers

Martijn L. Vandegehuchte, Valeria Trivellone, Martin Schütz, Jennifer Firn, Frederic de Schaetzen, and Anita C. Risch Grazing mammals can indirectly influence insects feeding on the same plants. However, these mammals do not just eat any plant. Some plants are nutritious while others are difficult to digest. As the preferred plants get eaten more, less plant…

Small birches escape from insect damage

Vitali Zverev, Elena L. Zvereva and Mikhail V. Kozlov Plants carry out many functions that provide humans with oxygen, food, fibre and fuel, but their effectiveness in performing these roles is affected by herbivores, like insects, that consume them. Therefore, understanding why some plants suffer more damage from insects than their neighbours is important. Downy…

Reindeer grazing influences tundra plant nutrient uptake

Hélène Barthelemy, Sari Stark, Minna-Maarit Kytoviita and Johan Olofsson The Arctic tundra is a vast and pristine landscape under harsh climate. Due to low temperature and short summers, decomposition and mineralisation of organic matter in the soil is very slow. Plant growth is thus strongly limited by the availability of nutrients, especially soil nitrogen. Plant…

Localized conifer defensive responses to bark beetle attacks

Charles J. Mason, Caterina Villari, Ken Keefover-Ring, Stephanie Jagemann, Jun Zhu, Pierluigi Bonello, Kenneth F. Raffa Plants face multiple biological threats that can adversely affect their growth, reproduction and survival. They defend themselves from herbivores and pathogens by integrated chemical and physical defenses. These defenses can be constitutively present, heightened upon injury, or in some…

Individual and non-additive effects of exotic sap-feeders on root functional and mycorrhizal traits of a shared conifer host

Robert N. Schaeffer, Claire M. Wilson, Laura Radville, Mauri Barrett, Elizabeth Whitney, Sofia Roitman, Esther R. Miller, Benjamin E. Wolfe, Carol S. Thornber, Colin M. Orians, Evan L. Preisser Forest pests, exotic and native, are pervasive agents of tree stress and mortality worldwide. Their impacts are mediated through disruption of host functional traits that are…