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Chemical mediation of plant-herbivore interactions in Mediterranean ecosystems - modelling vegetation responses to ungulate browsing intensity

Objective



Plants can respond to herbivory by allocating resources to either chemical defence or regrowtb foliage. Evergreen Mediterranean woody plants are associated with nutrient-poor habitats, where biomass lost to herbivory is difficult to replace because ot nutrient deficiency, favouring plants with high levels of chemical defences. The study, focused on plant-deer interactions in Mediterranean ecosystems, will test the hypothesis that plant responses to herbivory play a key role in structuring the vegetation in these communities. The results from a combination of field and laboratory experiments, integrated with data already collected in the study area and a GIS vegetation map, will be used to produce a predictive mathematical model of the impacts of deer browsing on the plant community in different habitat types and seasons. This model, will be a valuable tool for the management of both ungulate and plant communities in Mediterranean ecosystems, which are little-studied, but of high conservation value.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)

Coordinator

Natural Environment Research Council
Address
Hill Of Brathens
AB31 4BY Aberdeen
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Not available
Italy