Experimental habitat fragmentation and invertebrate grazing in a herbaceous grassland species

Stoll, P. and Dolt, C. and Goverde, M. and Baur, B.. (2006) Experimental habitat fragmentation and invertebrate grazing in a herbaceous grassland species. Basic and applied ecology, Vol. 7, H. 4. pp. 307-319.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250240

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A field experiment was conducted to examine the effects of habitat fragmentation on herbivore damage to individually tagged leaves of Betonica officinalis rosettes. Fragments of different size and corresponding control plots were established at three study sites in nutrient-poor calcareous grasslands in the northern Swiss Jura mountains. Leaf damage was recorded three times over the growing season (late spring, summer and early autumn). Five years after the initiation of the fragmentation, the density of rosettes did not differ between fragments and control plots. The number of leaves per rosette was higher in fragments than in control plots in summer but not in late spring and early autumn. The extent of leaf damage, expressed as proportion of leaf area removed by invertebrate herbivores, increased over the vegetation period. Leaf damage was greater in fragments than in control plots at two study sites, whereas the opposite (less strongly expressed) was found at the third site. Number of species and density (individuals per m(2)) of potential herbivores (gastropods and grasshoppers) were recorded in all. fragments and control plots. Effects of fragmentation on the number of species and densities depended on plot size and differed between gastropods and grasshoppers. Leaf damage in fragments increased with increasing density of gastropods if the third site, which had lowest leaf damage, was excluded. Such a positive relationship was neither found in control plots nor for grasshopper densities. Thus, movement of gastropods in fragments was probably restricted which resulted in increased feeding pressure at least in two sites. However, even if our fragmentation experiment was well designed and replicated, the interpretation of these experimental results remains difficutt because there was large site-to-site and seasonal variation. (c) 2005 Gesellschaft fur bkologie. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Baur, Bruno and Stoll, Peter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:28
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:03

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