Home ranges of small mammals such as rodents have been extensively studied in the past. Due to these studies different factors such as seasonal changes in resource availability or population density could be identified to influence home range dynamics of rodents. However, most of these studies were focused on single species and did not study homerange distributions on a community level. In this project we aim to track rodent home ranges of several species at the same time and location to analyze home range distribution patterns on a community level.
For further informations please contact
Dr. Melanie Dammhahn (melanie.dammhahn [at] uni-potsdam.de) or
Dr. Antje Herde (herde [at] uni-potsdam.de).
Biodiversity has the potential to buffer ecosystems against change and stabilise ecosystem functions and services. However, the suitable level of biodiversity to maximize ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes is not yet known and quantified. In the BASIL project, we aim at understanding the importance of diversity from the plot to the agricultural landscape scale evaluating intensively managed sites and adjacent natural habitats for abiotic and biotic characteristics, related functions and their contribution to ecosystem services.
My analyses focus on crop production, nutrient supply and pest control along transects from natural landscape elements (in-field ponds and hedgerows) into winter wheat fields in the Quillow catchment (Brandenburg). I established phytometer plots of a winter wheat variety at all transect points to compare for crop and vegetation traits, soil physical, chemical and biological traits as well as potential crop pests and their biological controllers.
I am working on agricultural weeds, soil mesofauna (Collembola, Acari), earthworms, ground-dwelling arthropods (beetles and spiders) and leaf and seed pathogens of winter wheat. The diversity and distribution of those communities will be evaluated in the context of measured rates, i.e. decomposition rates, predation rates of seeds, herbivory rates among others to gain more insights on the importance of landscape heterogeneity for the presented ecosystem services.
See also: BASIL Project
“We need a better understanding of the complexity of species interactions in multi-predator communities, how these may be influenced by bottom-up processes, and how they contribute to the maintenance of species diversity.”
Ritchie, E. G., & Johnson, C. N. (2009)
“Thus, both top-down and bottom-up processes need to be understood for effective preservation of biodiversity in anthropogenically transformed ecosystems.”
Elmhagen, B., & Rushton, S. P. (2007)
Overview and key questions:
The main aim of this project is to examine movement behaviour of mesopredators (e.g. foraging, daily activity, dispersal) as a key process of biodiversity dynamics in anthropogenic landscapes. Therefore, ecological processes, the land use dynamics and the landscape structure will be investigated with regard to their influence on movement patterns of mesopredators, especially the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), on a spatial and temporal scale.
Accordingly, the key questions are:
How do the structural diversity and dynamics of agricultural landscapes influence the space use and the movement behaviour of red foxes?
Are there hot spots of connectivity or temporally exclusive areas of habitat selection?
How is the spatio-temporal utilization of the landscape of predator and potential prey, e.g. the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus; see dissertation of Wiebke Ullmann) structured?
How does the landscape structure and resource availability of an anthropogenic landscape influence the distribution and genetic structure of the red fox population?
To understand the effects of land use changes on movement patterns and behaviour of red foxes, I will make use of GPS-ACC-collars. These will allow getting an insight into the specific behaviour of a tagged fox (e.g. resting, foraging, fleeing), its concrete position and following from this behavioural patterns with respect to the underlying landscape. Furthermore, this should improve our understanding of how changes in the environment or habitat affect the animal movement, behaviour, energy budget and adaption, which is relevant for living and surviving within a human transformed landscape where habitat change can occur rapidly.