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Bottom-up effects of host-plant species diversity and top-down effects of ants interactively increase plant performance

AuthorsMoreira Tomé, Xoaquín ; Mooney, Kailen A.; Zas Arregui, Rafael ; Sampedro Pérez, Luis
KeywordsTop-down effects
Bottom-up effects
Arthropod community structure
Plant growth
Plant diversity
Issue Date7-Nov-2012
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279(1746): 4464- 4472 (2012)
AbstractWhile plant diversity is well known to increase primary productivity, whether these bottom-up effects are enhanced by reciprocal top-down effects from the third trophic level is unknown. We studied whether pine tree species diversity, aphid-tending ants and their interaction determined plant performance and arthropod community structure. Plant diversity had a positive effect on aphids, but only in the presence of mutualistic ants, leading to a threefold greater number of both groups in the tri-specific cultures than in monocultures. Plant diversity increased ant abundance not only by increasing aphid number, but also by increasing ant recruitment per aphid. The positive effect of diversity on ants in turn cascaded down to increase plant performance; diversity increased plant growth (but not biomass), and this effect was stronger in the presence of ants. Consequently, bottom-up effects of diversity within the same genus and guild of plants, and top-down effects from the third trophic level (predatory ants), interactively increased plant performance. © 2012 The Royal Society.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0893
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0893
issn: 0962-8452
e-issn: 1471-2954
Appears in Collections:(MBG) Artículos
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