Novel approaches to biodiversity monitoring
We have developed new approaches to study landscape-wide changes in biodiversity of different organism groups. Using replicated landscapes, we show that biodiversity dynamics in space and time can best be understood when all available habitats are sampled (rather than focusing just on managed or seminatural areas).
(Figure from Scherber et al. 2018, Novel approaches to sampling pollinators in whole landscapes: a lesson for landscape-wide biodiversity monitoring, published in "Landscape Ecology".
Research on grassland biodiversity
We have use a variety of approaches to study effects of biodiversity on multitrophic interactions in grassland biodiversity experiments, e.g. within the framework of the Jena Experiment, a large long-term biodiversity experiment (see below).
Established field experiments in Göttingen (left) and Jena (right), August/September 2014.
The Jena Experiment
Within a large and long-term biodiversity experiment, we study:
(1) How plant diversity affects the diet of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
(2) Effects of plant diversity on flower traits and pollination along an experimental plant diversity gradient
At current, this involves the use of next-generation DNA sequencing approaches (pyrosequencing) to study how the diets of omnivorous Carabid beetles changes with plant diversity, plant species identity and plant traits. For this purpose, we collaborate with the research groups of Michael Traugott (Innsbruck) and Rolf Daniel (Göttingen).
In addition, we plan to study plant-seed predator and continue to study plant-pollinator interaction networks, with a focus on spatiotemporal niche differentiation.
PhD students: Julia Tiede (2013-2016) and Christine Venjakob (2010-2013)
MSc students: Juliane Heimann (maiden name: Juliane Specht, 2006)
Past research (2003-2010) has focused on multitrophic responses as a function of plant species richness.
Biodiversity positively affects ecosystem services
A particularly interesting finding is that plant species richness positively affects ecosystem services important for human well-being. These services include:
- weed suppression and invasion resistance
- parasitism and biological control
- flower visitation and pollination
- resistance against plant pathogenic fungi
(modified from Scherber et al., Nature)
Plants form the basis of terrestrial food webs
Our research has shown that changes in plant biodiversity affects above- and belowground trophic interactions, with effects dampening the higher you climb the "trophic ladder".
Above-belowground interactions are modified by changes in plant biodiversity
(modified from Scherber et al., Nature)
The Jena Experiment is a multidisciplinary, long-term research facility to study the effects of changes in plant species richness on ecosystem processes. For example, we are interested in the effects of plant species richness on processes at higher trophic levels. One central research question during the last years has been: Are plant monocultures more susceptible to herbivore attack than plant mixtures?
by Scherber C, Nico Eisenhauer, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Bernhard Schmid, Winfried Voigt, Markus Fischer, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Christiane Roscher, Alexandra Weigelt, Eric Allan, Holger Beßler, Michael Bonkowski, Nina Buchmann, François Buscot, Lars W. Clement, Anne Ebeling, Christof Engels, Stefan Halle, Ilona Kertscher, Alexandra-Maria Klein, Robert Koller, Stephan König, Esther Kowalski, Volker Kummer, Annely Kuu, Markus Lange, Dirk Lauterbach, Cornelius Middelhoff, Varvara D. Migunova, Alexandru Milcu, Ramona Müller, Stephan Partsch, Jana S. Petermann, Carsten Renker, Tanja Rottstock, Alexander Sabais, Stefan Scheu, Jens Schumacher, Vicky M. Temperton & Teja Tscharntke (2010)
Nature 468, 553–556 (25 November 2010) (published online 27th October 2010), DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09492
by Scherber C, Heimann J, Köhler G, Mitschunas N, Weisser WW (2010)
Oecologia (online first), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-010-1625-1 © Springer (Open Access by institutional agreement)
by Scherber C, Mwangi PN, Schmitz M, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Beßler H, Eisenhauer N, Migunova VD, Weisser WW, Schulze ED, Schmid B (2010)
Journal of Plant Ecology 3 (2): 99-108, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtq003 © Oxford Journals
by Specht J, Scherber C, Koehler G, Weisser WW (2008)
Journal of Animal Ecology 77, 1047–1055, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01395.x
by Scherber C, Milcu A, Partsch S, Scheu S, Weisser, WW (2006)
Journal of Ecology 94, pp. 922-931, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01144.x
by Scherber C, Mwangi PN, Temperton VM, Roscher C, Schumacher J, Schmid B, Weisser WW (2006)
Oecologia 147, pp. 489-500, Springer Berlin, Heidelberg, New York. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-005-0281-3