New publication from Ristok et al. in Journal of Ecology: Plant diversity effects on herbivory are related to soil biodiversity and plant chemistry
- Insect herbivory is a key process in ecosystem functioning. While theory predicts that plant diversity modulates herbivory, the mechanistic links remain unclear. We postulated that the plant metabolome mechanistically links plant diversity and herbivory.
- In late summer and in spring, we assessed individual plant above-ground herbivory rates and metabolomes of seven plant species in experimental plant communities varying in plant species diversity and resource acquisition strategies. In the same communities, we also measured plant individual biomass as well as soil microbial and nematode community composition.
- Herbivory rates decreased with increasing plant species richness. Path modelling revealed that plant species richness and community resource acquisition strategy correlated with soil community composition. In particular, changes in nematode community composition were related to plant metabolome composition and thereby herbivory rates.
- Synthesis. These results suggest that soil community composition plays an important role in reducing herbivory rates with increasing plant diversity by changing plant metabolomes.
Ristok, C., Weinhold, A., Ciobanu, M., Poeschl, Y., Roscher, C., Vergara, F., Eisenhauer, N., & van Dam, N. M. (2022). Plant diversity effects on herbivory are related to soil biodiversity and plant chemistry. Journal of Ecology, 00, 1– 16. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.14032