Maurice Hoffmann

Maurice Hoffmann
Ghent University | UGhent · Department of Biology

PhD

About

149
Publications
24,626
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,894
Citations
Introduction
Maurice Hoffmann currently leads (MD) the Research Institute for Nature & Forest (INBO) in Brussels (Belgium). Additionally, he is affilitated as part time Professor with the Terrestrial Ecology Unit of the Department of Biology at Ghent University. Maurice does research in Botany, Ecology and Zoology. The most recent research project in which he is involved concerns 'Dung removal and secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles along a biogeographic and climatic gradient throughout the Western Palaearctic'.
Additional affiliations
March 1992 - present
Research Institute for Nature and Forest
Position
  • Head of Department
Description
  • INBO is the Flemish research and knowledge centre for nature and its sustainable management and use. INBO conducts research and supplies knowledge to all those who prepare or make the policies or are interested in them.
September 1981 - present
Ghent University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (149)
Article
Full-text available
Het natuurbeleid, -beheer en -behoud baseerde zich vroeger vaak op de kennis of ervaring van mensen in het veld. De vraag naar een meer door gegevens onderbouwde aanpak is in de loop der jaren echter steeds groter geworden. Omwille van het grote aantal gebieden, biotopen en soorten en de vraag naar gebiedsdekkende inventarisaties, is het verzamelen...
Article
Aim In several ecosystems, the diversity of functional species traits has been shown to have a stronger effect on ecosystem functioning than taxonomic diversity alone. However, few studies have explored this idea at a large geographical scale. In a multisite experiment, we unravelled the relationship between ecosystem function and functional comple...
Article
Full-text available
By manipulating faeces during feeding and breeding, dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) fulfil important ecosystem functions in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. In a pan-European multi-site experiment (MSE), we estimated the ecosystem functions of dung removal and secondary seed dispersal by differing combinations of dung beetle fun...
Article
Full-text available
By manipulating faeces during feeding and breeding, dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) fulfill important ecosystem functions in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. In a pan-European multi-site experiment (MSE), we estimated the ecosystem functions of dung removal and secondary seed dispersal by differing combinations of dung beetle fu...
Article
Full-text available
Extensive grazing often has a strong influence on the structure and composition of herbaceous plant communities with increasing population sizes for some species and decreasing presence in others. Herbivores affect plant communities directly by selective grazing of plant species, and indirectly by either epizoochory or endozoochory. Helianthemum nu...
Article
In temperate grasslands, seeds of numerous dry-fruited plant species are dispersed via ingestion and subsequent defecation by grazing animals. Depending on the herbivore species and season, dung pats may contain a large assemblage of conspecific or heterospecific seeds competing for space, light and nutrients in the space-limited environment of an...
Article
Full-text available
Dung beetles form an insect group that fulfils important functions in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. These include nutrient cycling through dung removal, soil bioturbation, plant growth, secondary seed dispersal and parasite control. We conducted field experiments at two sites in the northern hemisphere temperate region in which dung...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological sustainability has been recognized as one of the main aspects of sustainable development of rangelands, at which different kinds of animal including insects, make substantial contributions. Dung beetles, known as dung-visiting insects, play several key roles in many ecological functions from which benefit both terrestrial ecosystems and...
Article
Full-text available
Endozoochory is one of the main drivers shaping temperate grassland communities by maintaining plant populations of its constituents and enabling plants to colonize new habitats. Successful endozoochorous dispersal implies that seeds not only get consumed and survive the digestive tract but are also able to develop into viable seedlings in a dung e...
Article
Full-text available
Endozoochory is a potential dispersal mode for numerous plant species. Although germination following endozoochory is well-documented, less is known about the costs and benefits associated with this dispersal mode in later life stages of established plants. The chemical and physical nature of dung differs between herbivores and might have specific...
Article
Full-text available
There is growing evidence that species are able to coexist in communities through niche separation, and that consistent community structuring can take place at the biogeographical scale, as the same biotic interactions can determine species’ fate at large scales. In this study, we document niche differentiation at a larger scale within a specific p...
Technical Report
Full-text available
LTER-Belgium stands for “Long-Term Ecosystem Research Network in Belgium”. The kick-off of the LTER-Belgium network was given at the official recognition by the International Long-term Ecological Research (ILTER) network (annual meeting December 2014 in Ancud, Chiloe Island, Chile). At the beginning of 2016, LTER-Belgium comprises 27 sites and 5 pl...
Article
Full-text available
Endozoochory of temperate grassland species is a widespread phenomenon and may accelerate and/or increase germination in some plant species. However, the mechanisms causing this altered germination success are only partly understood. In this study, germination of common grassland species was evaluated after simulated herbivore digestion in a standa...
Article
Full-text available
Plant communities are often dispersal-limited and zoochory can be an efficient mechanism for plants to colonize new patches of potentially suitable habitat. We predicted that seed dispersal by ungulates acts as an ecological filter – which differentially affects individuals according to their characteristics and shapes species assemblages – and tha...
Article
To increase the accuracy of pollen capture and transfer by pollinators some plant species have developed secondary pollen presentation structures. Because the presence of secondary pollen presentation structures at the pistil may reduce the spatial separation between the sexual functions and increase the risk of self-interference and selfing, tempo...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Background: Floodplains are among the most diverse, dynamic, productive and populated but also the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. Threats are mainly related to human activities that alter the landscape and disrupt fluvial processes to obtain benefits related to multiple ecosystem services (ESS). Floodplain management therefore requir...
Article
Full-text available
De afgelopen decennia is in de Lage Landen veel ecologisch onderzoek uitgevoerd naar begrazing, verbreidingsmechanismen van zaden en de combinatie van beide: de verbreiding van zaden door de grazers zelf (zoöchorie). Dit is deels geïnspireerd door de grote relevantie van deze processen voor het natuurbeheer. Zo is een handvol reservaten uit de Vlaa...
Article
Many herbaceous and graminoid plants from open communities are characterized by their relatively small size and by seeds that appear to lack any clear traits for dispersal. Such syndrome is likely the result of several selective pressures and their tradeoff s acting together. Drawing on the putative relationship of these plants with large mammals t...
Article
Habitat fragmentation can affect plant population characteristics and plant traits, which in turn can change biotic interactions, such as plant–insect interactions. Because of this, habitat fragmentation can affect reproductive success and survival of both the plant and seed predators, especially when the predator is rare and specialized. This stud...
Article
Full-text available
Many grassland plant species have limited capacity to disperse their seeds beyond local bound-aries by natural means. Meanwhile, various forms of human transportation are observed to provide long-distance dispersal. However, the contribution of human-mediated dispersal to the spatial dynamics of established (meta)populations on the regional scale h...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the processes that determine genetic variation within landscapes is a crucial factor for successful management of threatened plant species that are sensitive to both environmental and genetic bottlenecks. While current insights point to the importance of historical landscape processes for the genetic structure of populations at large...
Article
Correlation of the most abundant spider species with the vegetation determinants explains the ecological differentiation between the spider communities. Species were classified into seven major groups that reflect the species’ habitat preferences. The group showing clear association with non cattle-grazed, tall vegetation consists of common species...
Article
Large herbivorous mammals act as vectors of dispersal for many forbs and grasses through ingestion and excretion of seeds (endozoochory). Attributes from the plant, animal and landscape need to be integrated in order to study patterns of dispersal in the field, for instance, with respect to the spatial deposition of single plant species in heteroge...
Article
Selecting an appropriate variable subset in linear multivariate methods is an important methodological issue for ecologists. Interest often exists in obtaining general predictive capacity or in finding causal inferences from predictor variables. Because of a lack of solid knowledge on a studied phenomenon, scientists explore predictor variables in...
Article
Full-text available
The habitat choice of the small hindgut fermenter, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus L.), was studied in relation to sward height, forage quality, population size fluctuations and spatial distribution of burrows in a temperate grassland. In a multi-phase differential clipping experiment with alternating short and tall vegetation strips, ra...
Article
Full-text available
D’hondt B., Breyne P., Van Landuyt W. & Hoffmann M. 2012. TRIFOLIUM MICRANTHUM from the cradle to the grave: the role of man in dispersal. Natuur.focus 11(3): 112-118 [in Dutch]. Most herbaceous plants have seeds that disperse only short distances under natural conditions. Meanwhile, many human goods and modes of transport unintentionally carry se...
Article
Full-text available
Premise of the study: In animal-pollinated plants, autonomous selfi ng may provide reproductive assurance when pollinators or reproductive partners are limited. Under such circumstances, the contribution of pollinator-mediated seed set to total seed production also may be more variable compared with situations in which pollinator abundances are hig...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in traditional agricultural systems in Europe in recent decades have led to widespread abandonment and colonization of various habitats by shrubs and trees. We combined several vegetation databases to test whether patterns of changes in plant diversity after land abandonment in different habitats followed similar pathways. The impacts of la...
Article
Full-text available
and aims Re-introduction of large grazers in the few remaining natural and semi-natural grasslands are thought to be an effective management tool to prevent dominance of late successional plant species and restoration of plant biodiversity. The main objective of this study was to test whether the introduction of large herbivores retard the successi...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims - A good understanding of the ways in which seeds are dispersed within landscapes is essential to plant ecology and conservation. Carnivorous mammals can act as vectors in dispersal through ingestion and subsequent excretion of seeds (endozoochory). The red fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) is a predatory species that is markedly opportuni...
Article
Full-text available
D’hondt B., Vansteenbrugge L., Van Den Berge K., Bastiaens J. & Hoffmann M 2010. The potential role of foxes as seed dispersers. Natuur.focus 10(1): 4-10. [in Dutch] In this study the potential role of foxes Vulpes vulpes L. as seed dispersers was assessed through scat analysis. Scats were collected during two field campaigns (in 2004-’05 and 2008...
Article
Grazing mammals are regarded as major vectors in seed dispersal of grassland plants, through seed ingestion and subsequent excretion (endozoochory). The (evolutionary) ecology underlying this dispersal mode is relatively poorly understood because there are limited data, among others, on how seed attributes perform in this process (and could thus be...
Article
Seed bank density and similarity between above-ground vegetation and seed bank with depth were compared between two adjacent salt marshes that differ in age. In addition, the effect of salinity on the variation in seed bank density and similarity between above-ground vegetation and seed bank with depth was compared between euhaline against mesohali...
Article
Full-text available
Mature seeds of many legume species are normally characterized by water-impermeable seed coats, a form of physical dormancy. However, observations have suggested that the incidence of mature but permeable (non-dormant) seeds is sometimes substantial. Yet, the ecological processes associated with this non-dormancy have received little attention by p...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological restoration of native woodlands and wooded pastures on former agricultural land is an important topic in modern conservation practice. The introduction of large herbivores is increasingly used to achieve these aims. We investigated how grazing, resistance traits of plants (concerning herbivory) and associational resistance interact and a...
Article
and aims It is generally accepted that in terrestrial ecosystems the occurrence and abundance of plant species in late successional stages can be predicted accurately from prevailing soil conditions, whereas in early succession their presence is much more influenced by chance events (e.g. propagule availability). Late successional vegetation stages...
Article
Grazing with livestock is a common feature of nature and rangeland management. Although both aim at different, seemingly opposing goals, i.e. maintenance of biodiversity values versus maximization of animal production, they nonetheless have a common interest in maintaining the rangeland or natural environment in a state that ensures either the firs...
Article
The effects of grazing by sheep at a stocking density of c. 1 sheep ha−1 from August to April on total vegetation cover, diversity of plant species, above-ground plant biomass and concentration of crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre of salt-marsh vegetation was assessed over a 2-year period on a newly created salt-marsh...
Article
Full-text available
We evaluated the process of salt-marsh colonization in early successional stages of salt-marsh restoration and investigated how the sequence of species establishment related to different success factors. Vegetation data were collected by permanent plots from the restoration site and adjacent, reference salt marshes during three consecutive periods....
Article
Full-text available
Tree establishment in grazed vegetation mosaics involves a series of early bottlenecks, including seed dispersal, germination, seedling emergence, survival and growth. In a field experiment, we studied seedling emergence of two species with contrasting recruitment strategies, Fraxinus excelsior and Quercus robur, in five structurally different vege...
Article
Wij onderzochten de populatiegenetische structuur van Parnassia in duingebieden langs de Noordzee in Noord-Frankrijk, Vlaanderen en Nederland. Op regionale schaal is er sprake van genetische differentiatie door isolatie, te wijten aan habitatfragmentatie. Op lokaal niveau zien we dat landschapselementen en -dynamiek een belangrijke bijkomende rol s...
Article
Full-text available
In a mosaic landscape in N-Belgium (W-Europe), consisting of forest, grassland, and wooded pasture on former agricultural land, we assessed nitrogen redistribution by free-ranging cattle (±0.2 animal units ha−1 yr−1). We examined if the spatial redistribution of nitrogen among habitats by cattle could restore nutrient-poor conditions in preferred f...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether grazing management with large herbivores is appropriate to reduce expanding bramble (Rubus sp.) in an ancient forest in Flanders (N. Belgium). We further studied interaction effects of four years (all year-round) grazing and Rubus cover on the presence, cover, and flowering of five forest ground flora species (unpalatable: A...
Article
We tested whether differences in the herbivory tolerance of plant species is related to their abundance in grassland communities and how herbivory and nutrient availability affect competitive balances among plant species through changes in their tolerance. The experimental approach involved a simulated grazing treatment (clipping) of two competitiv...
Article
Question: Can the seed bank play a significant role in the restoration of plant communities of dry acidic dune grassland where fire has destroyed Ulex europaeus scrub? Location: Northern French Atlantic coast. Methods: One year after the fire, the seed bank and vegetation were sampled in 1 m × 1 m plots along three transects from the oldest scrub v...
Article
Full-text available
The effect of inundation frequency on plant community composition, species turnover, total and growth form cover, species richness, and abundance of individual species was investigated in a newly created salt marsh (Belgium) with a gradient of inundation frequencies from 0.01% to 100%. Cover of all plant species was estimated in 119 permanent 2 × 2...
Article
Full-text available
Het is vijf voor twaalf voor de paling. Europa reageerde door de soort op de CITESen de Rode Lijst te zetten en de handel strikter te controleren. Europese lidstaten dienden per 1 januari 2009 hun palingbeheerplannen klaar te hebben. Zo hoopt Brussel de naar zee trekkende paling maximaal te beschermen en alsnog de stock aan paaidieren te herstellen...
Article
Full-text available
Grazing is a commonly used management technique, e.g. to stop the expansion of competitive plant species, to enlarge plant species richness or to create spatial heterogeneity, favouring biodiversity in general. In order to accomplish an effective and efficient grazing management both herbivore and manager needs have to be accounted for. Several ung...
Article
The two-phase dispersal event in which dung beetles move seeds after endozoochory is often assumed to be advantageous for plant regeneration. Because seeds are expected to end up in favourable and safe germination sites, it is considered as an example of directed dispersal. However, literature so far is restricted to tropical rain forest ecosystems...
Article
Full-text available
When foraging, small mammalian herbivores do not show a preference for the forage with the highest biomass, which can be explained by several hypotheses (e.g. antipredator considerations, more difficult handling of tall swards and/or the higher nutritional quality of shorter grasses). We tested the ability of rabbits to discriminate between plants...
Article
In nature management, the introduction of large herbivores into human-influenced grasslands is thought to be effective to maintain or enhance plant diversity. In order to test the validity of this assumption, we studied the effect of grazing by large herbivores on plant species richness and community heterogeneity across a soil acidity gradient at...
Article
The dispersal of plant seeds in the fur of large herbivores (epizoochory) is an important but complex long-distance dispersal mechanism. We developed a spatially explicit simulation model of epizoochorous seed dispersal, which was parameterized based on empirical studies of the movement and behaviour of donkeys, and the distribution, seed productio...