• KiLi Sub Project 6:
  Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: birds and bats as seed dispersers and   arthropod predators

From 03/2010 to 07/2016

Project leader:  Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Matthias Schleuning, Marco Tschapka
PhD student:  Hamadi Iddi Dulle, Stefan Ferger, Maria Helbig, Anna Vogeler, Maximilian Vollstaedt
Other participating individuals:  Kim M. Howell, Martin H. Schaefer, Nico Blüthgen

In the first phase of the research unit, we studied responses of birds and bats to altitude and land use and assessed potential consequences of climate and land-use change on species diversity and on two key ecosystem functions, i.e. seed dispersal and insect predation. For the next phase, we propose to extend our studies of bird- and bat-mediated ecosystem functions to community-wide interaction networks. Applying a combination of observational and experimental methods we will investigate mutualistic interaction networks of birds and bats with fruiting and flowering plants along elevational and land-use gradients. We will link network studies with analyses of functional and phylogenetic diversity of birds and bats and their fruit and flower resources. We will assess the functional redundancy of the interacting communities in different elevations and habitat types and thereby will quantify the vulnerability of the interaction networks to climate and land-use change. We contribute to a joint predator- and pollinator-exclusion experiment along the elevational gradient by assessing the impacts of birds and bats as arthropod predators. In general, we will expand our studies from an analysis of bird and bat diversity to interaction networks and from single ecosystem functions to multi-functionality.

Elisabeth Kalko †, the project leader of KiLi SP6 passed away on Monday, September 26th, 2011. Elisabeth’s sudden death was completely unexpected. We are deeply saddened by the loss we both share.