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By influencing nutrient mineralization in the soil, decomposers may affect the performance of plants and their associated herbivores. The strength of above–belowground linkages may therefore depend on the availability of nutrients in ecosystems. We investigated the dependency of decomposer- and leaf-herbivore-mediated changes in plant performance on soil nutrient availability in microcosm systems. In separate treatments, Poa annua was used as host plant for the herbivore and was grown in combination with different herb species: Plantago lanceolata, Trifolium repens, and Sanguisorba minor. At three different levels of nutrient availability, the impact of Collembola (Folsomia candida) and aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi),...
If plants cannot simultaneously acclimate to shade and drought because of physiological trade-offs, then plants are expected to be less tolerant to shading under drier conditions. One observation that, at first sight, seems incompatible with this idea is the fact that the establishment of new plants in dry areas is often restricted to shady sites under the canopy of other plants, called “nurse plants.� We use a graphical model to resolve this paradox. The model visualizes how facilitative patterns can be understood from the simultaneous effects of plant canopies on microsite light and moisture, and the growth responses of establishing seedlings to those factors. The approach emphasizes the fact that positive...
By influencing nutrient mineralization in the soil, decomposers may affect the performance of plants and their associated herbivores. The strength of above–belowground linkages may therefore depend on the availability of nutrients in ecosystems. We investigated the dependency of decomposer- and leaf-herbivore-mediated changes in plant performance on soil nutrient availability in microcosm systems. In separate treatments, Poa annua was used as host plant for the herbivore and was grown in combination with different herb species: Plantago lanceolata, Trifolium repens, and Sanguisorba minor. At three different levels of nutrient availability, the impact of Collembola (Folsomia candida) and aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi),...