Plant - herbivore -decomposer stoichiometric mismatches and nutrientcycling in ecosystems
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 280, no 1754, 20122453- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Plant stoichiometry is thought to have a major influence on how herbivores affect nutrient availability in ecosystems. Most conceptual models predict that plants with high nutrient contents increase nutrient excretion by herbivores, in turn raising nutrient availability. To test this hypothesis, we built a stoichiometrically explicit model that includes a simple but thorough description of the processes of herbivory and decomposition. Our results challenge traditional views of herbivore impacts on nutrient availability in many ways. They show that the relationship between plant nutrient content and the impact of herbivores predicted by conceptual models holds only at high plant nutrient contents. At low plant nutrient contents, the impact of herbivores is mediated by the mineralization/immobilization of nutrients by decomposers and by the type of resource limiting the growth of decomposers. Both parameters are functions of the mismatch between plant and decomposer stoichiometries. Our work provides new predictions about the impacts of herbivores on ecosystemfertility that depend on critical interactions between plant, herbivore and decomposer stoichiometries in ecosystems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 280, no 1754, 20122453- p.
herbivory, mineralization, model, nutrient cycling, nutrition, ecological stoichiometry
Ecology Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80850DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2453ISI: 000313663700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-80850DiVA: diva2:651677