Environmental complexity and land use: Effects on species interactions

Presenting person: PD Dr. Elisabeth Obermaier, Ecological-Botanical Gardens, UBT (Homepage)
Th. 2014-01-23

Biotic interactions between organisms of different trophic levels often occur in highly structured and complex environments. Human land use has a profound impact on the structure of the environment where species interactions take place. Here I examine the effects of environmental complexity and its modification by land use on plant-herbivore and host-parasitoid systems on different spatial scales and for different model systems.

On small spatial scales plant architecture, vegetation structure and plant odour diversity can influence for example reproductive strategies of insect herbivores and host finding success of their natural enemies. On larger spatial scales habitat structure and landscape structure can strongly affect trophic interactions as well as species abundance and diversity. Current management strategies in nature conservation have a potential to locally restore environmental complexity and maintain species diversity.


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