To understand the mechanisms behind changes in biodiversity under disturbance, (meta)community analysis along disturbance gradients are performed and changes in species composition are linked to species-specific life history characteristics. From a conservation point-of-view, the understanding of these shifts requires knowledge on functional adaptations of these rare species, compared to common, more eurytopic species and needs to be explored within a landscape ecological context. General patters are explored in the field, but causal inter- and intraspecific interactions and dispersal limitation are studied through laboratory and field experiments. Research projects are situated in coastal dunes (read more), upper beaches (T. saltator as a keystone species) and along gravel banks along the Intermeuse (read more), systems in which sand dynamics and flooding are the natural disturbance. Mechanisms behind changes in diversity need consequently the understanding of behavioural (adaptive) plasticity. Therefore, behaviour related to dispersal and foraging (behaviour at boundaries, mobility, territoriality, orb web structure, hostplant use) are studied within systems under anthropogenic and natural disturbance. These comprise loss of natural dynamics, additional disturbance by trampling (beaches, dunes) and logging of (tropical) forests (read more) and can often be related to functioning of the ecosystem (pollination, nutrient cycling).
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web