Meltdown of trophic cascades?

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Online seminar followed by Q&A – all welcome. NB – all times given in UK time.

The idea that predators who feed on insect allow the plants to flourish is being studied but results are still inconclusive, as existing approaches of how to study trophic cascades differ. Predator exclusion experiments differ in duration, combine typically effects of several types of predators together, focus mostly on smaller scales a are conducted in forest understories only, where trophic cascades are believed to be not representative to those forest canopies. To provide better insights onto the importance of predators, we manipulated their presence along complete elevational gradient in Papua New Guinea, and in forest canopies and understories of forest spanning latitudinal gradient from Japan to Sydney. We report on the impact of birds, bats and ants individually and in combinations on arthropod communities and on plant herbivory at these study sites and aim to link them to plant traits and bottom-up control of individual plant species. To better understand the mechanisms, we provide insights into how predators navigate themselves to herbivore rich trees in dense tropical forests.

Katerina Sam obtained her PhD in Ornithology at University of South Bohemia for work in Papua New Guinea. Then she shifted her interest to trophic cascades between predators and insect and is currently based at Entomology Institute of Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, where she solved ERC Starting project.