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Impacts of above- and below-ground herbivory along a successional gradient

Hoffmann, F. (1998) Impacts of above- and below-ground herbivory along a successional gradient. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Above- and below-ground herbivory can have different effects on structuring vegetation. The aim of this research was to investigate their importance along a successional gradient in coastal sand dunes at the island of Schiermonnikoog. Since in this system nutrients may play an important role, nutrient limitation was also investigated. A herbivore excluding experiment was done at three stages of the chronoseqyence, consisting of four blocks with a different grazing treatment: excluding above-ground herbivory by rabbits and hares, excluding below-ground herbivory by nematodes, excluding both above- and below-ground herbivory and a control. In each exclosure a fertilization experiment was carried out with adding N, P, N and P control with no fertilization. Nutrients were limiting in the system: N in all stages, P in stage 1 and 2. Consequently, they may play a role in succession. Excluding above-ground herbivory caused biomass as a whole to increase, whereas the impact was different among species: mostly decreasing on low-stature or early successional species (like Sedum acre or Mosses, and increasing on high-stature or late successional species (like Festuca rubra and other grasses). Reducing below-ground herbivory by nematodes did have no impact on biomass and on plant species composition. Interactions between above-ground and below-ground herbivory were not found.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:48
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:48

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