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|Type:||Artigo de periódico|
|Title:||Flower-heads, herbivores, and their parasitoids: food web structure along a fertility gradient|
|Abstract:||1. The ways in which a soil fertility gradient affects three trophic level food webs defined by plants of the family Asteraceae, flower-head herbivores, and their parasitoids was investigated. It was tested how the fertility gradient alters: (i) the abundance and richness of plants, herbivores, and their parasitoids, (ii) the herbivore-plant ratio, and (iii) the connectance of the plant-herbivore community matrix. 2. From April to May 2000, plants land insects were sampled, in 16 Brazilian Cerrado (sensu stricto) sites along a physiognomic gradient varying from open shrublands (cerrado) to closed woodlands (cerradao). Sites were objectively positioned along the physiognomic gradient by a single index, tree density. Sixty-seven per cent of the variation in tree density among sites was correlated to two principal components of a PCA, representing gradients of soil fertility. 3. Asteraceae abundance, richness, and flower-head availability were negatively related to tree density due to their preference for sunny environments, despite the surplus of soil nutrients. The abundance and richness of Diptera and Lepidoptera, the most important flower-head herbivores, were also negatively related to tree density. Parasitoid abundance decreased with tree density; however, the number of parasitoids per hosts was lower in cerrado, suggesting that top-down forces are not getting stronger in more productive sites, as could be expected. 4. Community allometry analyses showed that the herbivore to plant ratio was independent of community richness and did not respond to tree density. 5. Connectance of the plant-herbivore matrix was dependent on the community matrix size. Proportionally, species-rich cerrado sites had fewer interactions than their species-poor counterparts. Nevertheless, after removing the effect of the matrix size, connectance was not related to tree density. 6. Soil fertility, as the primary cause of the cerrado-cerradao physiognomic gradient, strongly affected the abundance and richness of plants, herbivores and their parasitoids; however, it had little effect on important community attributes, such as the herbivore-plant ratio and the connectance of the plant-herbivore matrix.|
|Editor:||Blackwell Publishing Ltd|
|Appears in Collections:||Artigos e Materiais de Revistas Científicas - Unicamp|
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