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Experimental Network Ecology and Restoration (Exper-net)

English title Experimental Network Ecology and Restoration (Exper-net)
Applicant Graham Catherine
Number 199379
Funding scheme SPIRIT
Research institution Biodiversität und Naturschutzbiologie Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.02.2022 - 31.01.2026
Approved amount 483'165.00
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Keywords (6)

Land-use change; Pollination; Experimental Ecology; Restoration; Landscape Modeling; Plant-animal interactions

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Catherine GrahamEidg. Forschungsanstalt WSLZürcherstrasse 111CH-8903 Birmensdorf
Lay summary
Das Wissen darüber, wie der Klimawandel und die Art und Weise, wie der Mensch Landschaften nutzt, die biologische Vielfalt und die Ökosystemleistungen beeinflussen, wird hauptsächlich durch Beobachtung gewonnen. Diese Beobachtungen werden dann genutzt, um wichtige Bestäuber oder die Pflanzen zu identifizieren, auf die diese Bestäuber als Ressourcen angewiesen sind.  Ohne Experimente ist es jedoch schwierig festzustellen, ob die aus den Beobachtungen gewonnenen Erkenntnisse ausreichen, um Restaurierungsmassnahmen zu leiten. Zu den Fragen gehören: Kann die Pflanze, die von den Bestäubern am häufigsten besucht wird, leicht in einem Gewächshaus vermehrt und in geschädigten Gebieten angepflanzt werden? Kann der wichtigste Bestäuber durch andere Bestäuber ersetzt werden, oder bricht das Bestäubungsnetzwerk zusammen, wenn er aus dem System verschwindet? Um diese Fragen zu beantworten und Empfehlungen für die Renaturierung von Landschaften zu geben, in denen sowohl Pflanzen als auch Bestäuber gedeihen, sind Experimente erforderlich. In diesem Projekt werden eine Reihe von Experimenten durchgeführt, um festzustellen, welche Pflanzenarten für Kolibri-Populationen am wichtigsten sind und wie einfach es ist, diese Arten anzubauen.  Mit diesen Informationen werden wir konkrete Empfehlungen für die Wiederherstellung degradierter Andenlandschaften im Süden Ecuadors geben. Das PI-Team besteht aus drei Frauen und einem Mann, die aus Institutionen/Ländern kommen, in denen Frauen eher unterrepräsentiert sind.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 07.02.2022

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Catherine Graham, Swiss Federal Research Institute (WSL)
Lay summary

Knowledge of how climate change and the way humans use landscapes influences biodiversity, and ecosystem services is mostly obtained through observation. These observations are then used to identify important pollinators or the plants that these pollinators rely on for resources. However, without experiments it is difficult to determine if the knowledge gained through observations is sufficient to guide restoration activities.  Questions include: Can the plant that is most frequently visited by pollinators be easily propagated in a greenhouse and planted in degraded areas? Can the most important pollinator be replaced with other pollinators, or if it is lost from the system does the pollination network collapse?  Experiments are needed to answer these questions and provide recommendations for landscape restoration where both plants and pollinators thrive. In this project design a series of experiments will be carried out to determine what plant species are most important for hummingbird populations, and how easy it is to grow these species. With this information we will make concrete recommendations on how to restore degraded Andean landscapes in southern Ecuador. The PI-team has three women and one man who come from institutions/countries where women are quite under-represented.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 07.02.2022

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
173342 The Influence of land-use and elevation gradients on network structure of Ecuadorian hummingbird-plant interactions 01.08.2017 Project funding
197753 Macroecology in environmental space 01.11.2020 Project funding
184131 FutureWeb 01.04.2019 BiodivERsA

Abstract

Knowledge of the effects of climate and land-use change on species richness, composition and interactions, and in turn, ecosystem services largely comes from observational studies. This makes restoration difficult because mechanisms underlying patterns in observational studies are often hard to uncover without well-conceived experiments. Unfortunately, such experiments are still quite limited, especially in restoration and network ecology. Our goals are to: (WP1) evaluate how experimental removal of key plant species influences plant-hummingbird interaction networks, with a focus on rewiring (changes in partner use); (WP2) evaluate plant fitness in the context of our removal experiments; (WP3) evaluate current distribution of key plant species in restoration areas and experimentally determine abiotic requirements for germination and establishment of key plant species for restoration; and finally, (WP4) combine these results to model restoration scenarios that might promote plant, hummingbird and interaction diversity. Addressing these aims will (i) fill persistent empirical gaps and evaluate common assumptions in network and regeneration ecology using experimentation; (ii) develop theory on the influence of species extinctions on species diversity and ecosystem processes; and (iii) inform the design of future landscapes aimed at maintaining species and interaction diversity and ecosystem function. The proposed research, although ambitious, is feasible because the methods have been tested in the field in smaller-scale studies, all sites are identified and permissions for working at these sites have been or can be readily obtained (both at local and national levels). Further, this proposal will benefit from on-going research collaborations between Ecuadorian and Swiss scientists. The PI-team also has three women all of whom come from institutions/countries where women are quite under-represented.
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