Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in the Earth´s crust and widely recognized to have a variety of functions in plants. Yet we know little about the ecological role of this abundant element in tropical forests, which are among the most species-rich systems on earth and provide important ecosystem services. In this project, we integrate observational data with experimental approaches in the greenhouse, the laboratory and the field to evaluate the effects of Si on nutrient and water relations, and on herbivore defenses in tropical forests. The study will thus substantially contribute to improving the understanding of tropical forests under current and future conditions.[Details]
Land use and precipitation are important drivers for shaping community diversity, and ecosystem function in grasslands worldwide, and are two of the main global change drivers. The main aim of this project is to improve our capability of predicting consequences of global change for grasslands through assessing the combined effects of nutrients and drought at the trait and whole plant performance level and integrating them with drought effects on community composition and productivity across land-use gradients in grasslands.[Details]
Drought and land use are among the most important global change drivers, particularly for dryland ecosystems. Species and communities in dry areas are assumed to be resistant to both grazing and drought (Generalized Grazing model). However, the generality of this model has been called into question in semiarid rangelands dominated by winter annuals, which exhibit a substantially different strategy to cope with drought than perennials. To test a novel trait-based framework that can resolve the apparent inconsistencies, we use a steep rainfall gradient in the Eastern Mediterranean as a model system, and explicitly link traits, whole plant performance, long-term community responses, and distribution patterns.[Details]
Under conditions of climate change, water availability in temperate grasslands is projected to decrease, and extreme events – including droughts - to increase. A thorough understanding of species responses to drought, of the traits governing drought responses, and how they affect community assembly and ecosystem function is necessary for projections of consequences of climate change for the future. In this study, we comparatively assess whole-plant drought tolerance of 38 grassland species, and identify the key traits for differential drought responses, through directly linking physiological, anatomical and morphological traits that influence species water relations to the species’ drought tolerance.
A project within the Biodiversity Exploratories, DFG Priority Programme 1374.[Details]
Project Evaluation - methodology and practical examples
Biotic controls of ecosystem functioning in global drylands
Wassernutzung und Landnutzungsänderung in der Tafilalt-Oase, Marokko – ein „Erlebnisbericht“ aus der integrativen Geographie
Unterschätzt: Heimische Wildrosen
SPACED - Using Earth Observation to protect European Landscapes
Stoichiometric controls of C and N cycling
Flying halfway across the globe to dig in the dirt – a research stay in Bloomington, USA
EGU – interesting research and free coffee
Picky carnivorous plants?