An ERC Advanced Grant has been awarded to Wim van der Putten to study species range shifts, aboveground-belowground community reassembly and consequences for ecosystem functioning.
The project has started in June 2013 and will run until June 2018. It will be elucidated how terrestrial communities of plants and their belowground and aboveground multitrophic interactions become assembled following climate warming-induced range shifts. Due to climate warming, plants, animals and microbes shift from lower to higher latitudes and altitudes. Plants may shift range independent of the aboveground and belowground community from their home range. However, little is known about how these communities re-assemble in the new range and how that process influences community dynamics and ecosystem functioning. Besides plants, this project will focus on soil biota (nematodes, pathogens, decomposers, mycorrhizal fungi, viruses and their antagonists), and on aboveground biota (insects, pathogens, viruses and their antagonists). The results will contribute to enhanced predictions on consequences of climate warming for the stability and resilience of ecosystem functioning.