Special Issue "Food Webs, Ecosystem Functioning and Environmental Quality"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Professor PC (Peter) De Ruiter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: the structure and stability of food webs; the relationship between biological diversity, ecosystem functioning and environmental quality, in particular in soils; Key concept in his approach is that the relationship between food web structure and ecosystem function is mutual in fundamental ways, i.e. soil food webs govern ecosystems processes, while soil processes shape the structure and stability of the soil food webs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food webs bring structure to the ecosystems of our planet by disentangling the complex networks of feeding relations between species (‘who eats whom’). Understanding how phenomena we observe in nature arise out of this complexity, how robust the species relations are and how energy flows in ecosystems, is among the most fundamental problems in understanding the world ecosystems.

Food webs occupy a central position in ecology and environmental sciences. This is because food web interactions determine the ‘ecological success’ of populations in fundamental ways. Enough to eat (adequate resources), and not be eaten too much (and not over predated), both may determine the difference between survival and extinction. In this way, food web ecology helps to understand the current changes biodiversity at local and global scales. Second, trophic interactions represent material flow rates among the populations constituting food webs. In this way, food web interactions are the driver of ecosystems processes like carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling.

Therefore, understanding the role of food web interactions in ecological networks is, not only crucial for understanding population dynamics and persistence, it is also key to our understanding ecosystem processes like energy and nutrient cycling, the spread of pests and diseases, and, in this way, human welfare.

Prof. Dr. PC (Peter) de Ruiter
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Food Webs
  • Ecosystem Functioning
  • Environmental Quality

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
Micro-Food Web Structure Shapes Rhizosphere Microbial Communities and Growth in Oak
Diversity 2018, 10(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10010015 - 13 Mar 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2047
Abstract
The multitrophic interactions in the rhizosphere impose significant impacts on microbial community structure and function, affecting nutrient mineralisation and consequently plant performance. However, particularly for long-lived plants such as forest trees, the mechanisms by which trophic structure of the micro-food web governs rhizosphere [...] Read more.
The multitrophic interactions in the rhizosphere impose significant impacts on microbial community structure and function, affecting nutrient mineralisation and consequently plant performance. However, particularly for long-lived plants such as forest trees, the mechanisms by which trophic structure of the micro-food web governs rhizosphere microorganisms are still poorly understood. This study addresses the role of nematodes, as a major component of the soil micro-food web, in influencing the microbial abundance and community structure as well as tree growth. In a greenhouse experiment with Pedunculate Oak seedlings were grown in soil, where the nematode trophic structure was manipulated by altering the proportion of functional groups (i.e., bacterial, fungal, and plant feeders) in a full factorial design. The influence on the rhizosphere microbial community, the ectomycorrhizal symbiont Piloderma croceum, and oak growth, was assessed. Soil phospholipid fatty acids were employed to determine changes in the microbial communities. Increased density of singular nematode functional groups showed minor impact by increasing the biomass of single microbial groups (e.g., plant feeders that of Gram-negative bacteria), except fungal feeders, which resulted in a decline of all microorganisms in the soil. In contrast, inoculation of two or three nematode groups promoted microbial biomass and altered the community structure in favour of bacteria, thereby counteracting negative impact of single groups. These findings highlight that the collective action of trophic groups in the soil micro-food web can result in microbial community changes promoting the fitness of the tree, thereby alleviating the negative effects of individual functional groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Webs, Ecosystem Functioning and Environmental Quality)
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Review

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Review
Urban Re-Greening: A Case Study in Multi-Trophic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in a Post-Industrial Landscape
Diversity 2018, 10(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10040119 - 01 Nov 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2325
Abstract
The biodiversity of urban and post-industrial ecosystems is a highly relevant and growing new frontier in ecological research. Even so, the functionality of these ecosystems may not always be successfully predicted based on prior biodiversity and ecosystem functioning theory. Indeed, evidence suggests that [...] Read more.
The biodiversity of urban and post-industrial ecosystems is a highly relevant and growing new frontier in ecological research. Even so, the functionality of these ecosystems may not always be successfully predicted based on prior biodiversity and ecosystem functioning theory. Indeed, evidence suggests that the general biological impoverishment within the urban context envisioned thirty years ago was overstated. Many of the world’s urban centers support some degree of biodiversity that is indigenous, as well as a complex array of non-native species, resulting in highly functional, and often, novel communities. For over two decades, a multi-disciplinary team has examined the sub-lethal impact of soil metal contamination on the multi-trophic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of a post-industrial brownfield in the New York City metropolitan area. We do this through examinations of photosynthesis, carbon allocation, and soil enzyme activity as well as multi-trophic metal translocation via the plant and rhizosphere. In this paper, we synthesize the findings of our research network and apply the results to a framework of functional diversity. Due to the unique constraints many post-industrial lands impose on communities, functional diversity may be more meaningful to ecosystem health than species richness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Webs, Ecosystem Functioning and Environmental Quality)
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