The Bug-Network

BugNet research questions

  • How does the functional composition of invertebrate communities vary with abiotic and biotic drivers?
  • How important are direct effects of climate vs. indirect effects of changes in the plant community?
  • Do insect herbivores, molluscs and fungal pathogens differ in their impact on plant communities? And do they interact with each other?
  • When do invertebrate herbivores and fungal pathogens have the strongest effects on plant communities (productivity, community composition and diversity)?

BugNet aims

  • To collect data on plant- and invertebrate functional community characteristics to investigate how the functional composition of invertebrate communities changes along abiotic and biotic gradients.
  • To set up identical invertebrate herbivore and fungal exclusion experiments to quantify plant community and ecosystem responses to insects, molluscs and fungal pathogens in a wide range of herbaceous-dominated ecosystems, such as desert grasslands to arctic tundra, but also heathlands or Mediterranean shrublands.

The BugNet is run out of the University of Bern and the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (Switzerland).

Anne Kempel, Lara Albrecht and Suz Everingham work on this project.