Projects & Grants

Internal Grant Competition DGC

Why are there more species of insect herbivores and parasitoids in tropical than temperate forests?
Project Id14-04258S
Main solverdoc. Mgr. Pavel Drozd, Ph.D.
Periodr1/2014 - 12/2016
ProviderStandardní projekt GA ČR
AnotationHow can so many species coexist in tropical, but not temperate, forests? We will examine this fundamental question using a new analytical approach to compare the first plot-based tri-trophic (plant-herbivore-parasitoid) quantitative food webs assembled by uniform sampling from replicated 0.1 ha plots in tropical Papua New Guinea and temperate Europe and Japan. We will use a new rarefaction method to evaluate competing hypotheses that herbivore diversity is driven by latitudinal variation in either the diversity of plants, or the host specificity of herbivores, or the diversity and host specificity of their parasitoids. The study will thus quantify the importance of key plant (bottom-up) and parasitoid (top-down) drivers of latitudinal trends in herbivore community structure. It also aims to resolve the current controversy on the existence of latitudinal trends in herbivore host specificity, important because the role of herbivores as density-dependent mortality agents maintaining diversity in plant communities depends on their specificity.