The impact of different size herbivores on plant biomass in Yamal (Russia)
Tundra ecosystems are changing environments that are greatly affected by plant-herbivore relationships. Many herbivores of different sizes eat, trample or clip plants. However they can also act as support through nutrient addition by faeces. In this study I look at the impact of three sizes of herbivores (large, medium and small) on ten functional groups of plants (nitrogen-fixing forbs, erect willows, birch bushes, evergreen ericoids, nitrogen-non-fixing forbs, grasses, sedges, deciduous shrubs, semi-evergreen shrubs and toxic plants) in three habitats of differing productivity and importance for herbivores on the Yamal Peninsula in Russia. My research question is: “is the impact of herbivores cumulative on palatable plants and complementary on less palatable plants?”. To answer this question, I investigated the first year data from an exclosure experiment that was set up in 2014. There were tendencies suggesting that herbivores do not always have a cumulative impact on palatable plants and that the impact on less palatable plants is not always complementary. However, based on plant traits, herbivores’ preferences and previous studies I conclude that the fastest growing plants usually show responses already after a very short time of herbivore exclusion. Further research during the next years will shed light on persistence of these results.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
The following license file are associated with this item: