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Climate change effects on plant-enemy interactions

 

A major challenge is predicting how ecosystems will respond to climate change. A key knowledge gap limiting our predictive ability is how climate alters the interactions of plants with their enemies. We aim to investigate the mechanisms by which enemy impact on plant communities will change in a warmer world. Using 1) insect, mollusc and fungal pathogen exclusion experiments across an elevational gradient in Swiss grasslands, combined with experimental warming and surveys of plant and enemy community responses, 2) multi-species transplant experiments that simulate future enemy scenarios faced by focal plants and 3) data of a globally replicated experiment we hope to increase our understanding of the indirect effects of warming on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning via changing antagonistic interactions. This will advance our understanding of species and ecosystem responses to climate change, which is key to forecast future dynamics of pests, diseases and biological diversity.