Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology


Biodiversity Exploratories-ChemoDiversity-Functional ecology: Impact of different land use intensity on chemical odour diversity, structural complexity of the vegetation and host-parasitoid interactions

Elisabeth Obermaier, Christine Herbst

Funding: DFG priority program
Duration: 2008 – 2011

In this project we investigate the landuse effect on vegetation complexity and on the interactions between herbivore and carnivore insects. An increasing landuse decreases plant species diversity which in turn might change the structural complexity of the vegetation. Moreover, a reduced number of plant species should affect the odour complexity of the vegetation, since specific compounds of plants that are not present are missing in the vegetation odour bouquet. We are investigating the effect of the vegetation (odour diversity, structural complexity) on the orientation of insects from different trophic levels and their interactions in a landuse gradient in the system plantain (Plantago lanceolata; host plant) - Mecinus pascuorum and Mecinus labilis (weevils; herbivores) - Mesopolobus incultus (parasitic wasp).

Research areas: Schwäbische Alb, Hainich, Biospherenreservat Schorfheide-Chorin

Habitats: differently managed grasslands

Species groups: plants, phytophagous insects, parasitoids

Methods: field work, headspace sampling, laboratory assays

More information: