Michael Staab

Michael Staab
Technische Universität Darmstadt | TU · Workgroup for Ecological Networks

Dr.

About

114
Publications
30,001
Reads
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1,421
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
University of Freiburg
Position
  • PostDoc Position
May 2011 - July 2013
Leuphana University Lüneburg
Position
  • PhD Student
October 2010 - April 2011
University of Wuerzburg
Position
  • Scientific Assitant

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
Species and processes in ecosystems are part of multi-trophic interaction networks. Plants represent the lowest trophic level in terrestrial ecosystems, and experiments have shown a stabilizing effect of plant diversity on higher trophic levels. Such evidence has been mainly collected in experimental grasslands. Forests are structurally more comple...
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1. Epigeic ants are functionally important arthropods in tropical and subtropical forests, particularly by acting as predators. High predation pressure has been hypothesised to be a mechanism facilitating high diversity across trophic levels. 2. In this study, standardised pitfall traps were used in a highly diverse subtropical forest to test if a...
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Hymenoptera show a great variation in reproductive potential and nesting behavior, from thousands of eggs in sawflies to just a dozen in nest-provisioning wasps. Reduction in reproductive potential in evolutionary derived Hymenoptera is often facilitated by advanced behavioral mechanisms and nesting strategies. Here we describe a surprising nesting...
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Subtropical and tropical forests are biodiversity hotspots, and untangling the spatial scaling of their diversity is fundamental for understanding global species richness and conserving biodiversity essential to human well-being. However, scale-dependent diversity distributions among coexisting taxa remain poorly understood for heterogeneous enviro...
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Recent efforts to understand global patterns of ant diversity have largely neglected the canopy which arbours a diverse ant fauna, particularly in tropical lowland forests. We comprehensively sampled ant diversity and abundance by canopy-fogging in South-East Asian lowland rain forests (99 trees fogged, 151,396 ant individuals, 328 morphotypes) and...
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Ecosystem functioning may directly or indirectly – via change in biodiversity – respond to land use. Dung removal is an important ecosystem function central for the decomposition of mammal faeces, including secondary seed dispersal and improved soil quality. Removal usually increases with dung beetle diversity and biomass. In forests, dung removal...
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Background Retention forestry is a management strategy aiming to mitigate biodiversity loss by retaining structural elements such as dead trees that would otherwise be removed. Here we analyze the biomass, diversity and abundance among forest beetles collected using window traps on 128 1-ha forest sites reflecting gradients in the amount of structu...
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1. Tree survival affects forest biodiversity, structure and functioning. However, little is known about feedback effects of biodiversity on survival and its dependence on functional traits and interannual climatic variability. 2. With an individual‐based dataset from a large subtropical forest biodiversity experiment, we evaluated how species richn...
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Temporal trends in insect numbers vary across studies and habitats, but drivers are poorly understood. Suitable long-term data are scant and biased, and interpretations of trends remain controversial. By contrast, there is substantial quantitative evidence for drivers of spatial variation. From observational and experimental studies, we have gained...
Preprint
Addressing global biodiversity loss requires an expanded focus on multiple dimensions of biodiversity. While most studies have focused on the consequences of plant interspecific diversity, our mechanistic understanding of how the diversity within a given plant species (genetic diversity) affects plant productivity remains limited. Here, we use a tr...
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Regrowing secondary forests dominate tropical regions today, and a mechanistic understanding of their recovery dynamics provides important insights for conservation. In particular, land‐use legacy effects on the fauna have rarely been investigated. One of the most ecologically dominant and functionally important animal groups in tropical forests ar...
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Wood decomposition is faster in open habitats than closed-canopy forests, with the mechanisms unclear. When allowing access, termites outcompete fungi during wood decomposition. If increasing canopy density shifts the dominance from termites to fungi, decomposition rates will fall. We conducted wood decomposition experiments in 148 plots of two reg...
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From regional to global scales, anthropogenic environmental change is causing biodiversity loss and reducing ecosystem functionality. Previous studies have investigated the relationship between plant diversity and functional insect communities in temperate and also in tropical grasslands and forests. However, few studies have explored these dynamic...
Article
A new study shows that large mammals in an African savanna not only modify the vegetation but also strongly alter interaction networks between plants and pollinators. These insights raise fundamental yet unresolved questions about spatial dimensions of experiments, species interaction networks and ecosystems.
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As woody plants provide much of the trophic basis for food webs in forests their species richness, but also stand age and numerous further variables such as vegetation structure, soil properties and elevation can shape assemblages of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). However, the combined impact of these numerous variables on ground beetle di...
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Plant diversity affects multi-trophic communities, but in young regrowth forests, where forest insects are in the process of re-establishment, other biotic and also abiotic factors might be more important. We studied cavity-nesting bees, wasps and their natural enemies along an experimental tree diversity gradient in subtropical South-East China. W...
Preprint
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The importance of keystone species is often defined based on a single type of interaction (e.g., keystone predator). However, it remains unclear whether this functional importance extends across interaction types. We conducted a global meta-analysis of interaction networks to examine whether species functional importance in one niche dimension is m...
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From regional to global scales, anthropogenic environmental change is causing biodiversity loss and reducing ecosystem functionality. Previous studies have investigated the relationship between plant diversity and functional insect communities in temperate and also in tropical grasslands and forests. However, few studies have explored these dynamic...
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Full-text available
1. Plant diversity begets diversity at other trophic levels. While species richness is the most commonly used measure for plant diversity, the number of evolutionary lineages (i.e. phylogenetic diversity) could theoretically have a stronger influence on the community structure of co-occurring organisms. However, this prediction has only rarely been...
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en Microclimate and biotic factors drive wood decomposition. Yet, relatively few studies have been conducted in warmer tropical and subtropical forests compared with colder temperate and boreal forests, where climate might have stronger limitations on decomposition. Besides, conclusions on decomposition are generally based on single wood species or...
Article
1. Associational resistance theory predicts that insect herbivory decreases with increasing tree diversity in forest ecosystems. However, the generality of this effect and its underlying mechanisms are still debated, particularly since evidence has accumulated that climate may influence the direction and strength of the relationship between diversi...
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Purpose of Review Natural enemies are an important component for forest functioning. By consuming herbivores, they can be effective top-down regulators of potential pest species. Tree mixtures are generally expected to have larger predator and parasitoid populations compared to monocultures. This assumption is based on the “enemies” hypothesis, a c...
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Urban green spaces such as gardens often consist of native and exotic plant species, which provide pollen and nectar for flower-visiting insects. Although some exotic plants are readily visited by pollinators, it is unknown if and at which time of the season exotic garden plants may supplement or substitute for flower resources provided by native p...
Article
Retention forestry intends to promote biodiversity by retaining deadwood and tree-related microhabitats. Simultaneously, production forests undergo major structural changes by conversion into near-natural forests. As insect biomass is declining, it is important to understand how insect communities respond to management-related changes in forest str...
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Declining plant diversity alters ecological networks, such as plant‐herbivore interactions. However, our knowledge of the potential mechanisms underlying effects of plant species loss on plant‐herbivore network structure is still limited. We used DNA‐barcoding to identify herbivore‐host plant associations along declining levels of tree diversity in...
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Retention forestry, which retains a portion of the original stand at the time of harvesting to maintain continuity of structural and compositional diversity, has been originally developed to mitigate the impacts of clear‐cutting. Retention of habitat trees and deadwood has since become common practice also in continuous‐cover forests of Central Eur...
Article
1.Understanding how species diversity affects plant performance is a central question in biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) research. At the community level, functional trait means and trait dissimilarities have been used to explain biodiversity effects, but with mixed success. To disentangle how functional traits explain community growth and...
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Exotic ants have been a prevalent ecological problem, particularly in tropical and subtropical islands. Here Plagiolepis alluaudi Emery, 1894 is recorded from the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) for the first time, where it was commonly encountered in the town Puerto de la Cruz. This is the first Canary Islands record of this species tha...
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In urban areas, the diversity and abundance of cavity-nesting Hymenoptera may be restricted due to scarce nesting resources. Artificial nesting sites (nesting aids) are being installed to compensate for this shortage in a growing number of private gardens and public greenspaces to support Hymenoptera (especially bee) diversity. Various nesting aids...
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1. Diversity of producers (e.g. plants) usually increases the diversity of associated organisms, but the scale (i.e. the spatial area of plant diversity considered) at which plant diversity acts on other taxa has rarely been studied. Most evidence for cross‐taxon diversity relations come from aboveground consumers that directly interact with plants...
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1.Insect populations are globally declining but standardised long‐term data to evaluate trends and consequences are largely missing. One difficulty among many is the rather narrow taxonomic cover of most conventional trap types, which makes the use of several complementary collection methods necessary to achieve comprehensive coverage. To avoid the...
Article
1. How herbivore plant diversity relationships are shaped by the interplay of biotic and abiotic environmental variables is only partly understood. For instance, plant diversity is commonly assumed to determine abundance and richness of associated specialist herbivores. However, this relationship can be altered when environmental variables such as...
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Humans modify ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide, with negative consequences for ecosystem functioning. Promoting plant diversity is increasingly suggested as a mitigation strategy. However, our mechanistic understanding of how plant diversity affects the diversity of heterotrophic consumer communities remains limited. Here, we disentangle the r...
Article
Multi-trophic interactions maintain critical ecosystem functions. Biodiversity is declining globally, while responses of trophic interactions to biodiversity change are largely unclear. Thus, studying responses of multi-trophic interaction robustness to biodiversity change is crucial for understanding ecosystem functioning and persistence. We inves...
Article
Cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae) are a species‐rich family of obligate brood parasites (i.e. parasitoids and kleptoparasites) whose hosts range from sawflies, wasps and bees, to walking sticks and moths. Their brood parasitic lifestyle has led to the evolution of fascinating adaptations, including chemical mimicry of host odours by some spec...
Article
1. Trap nests are artificially made nesting resources for solitary cavity‐nesting bees and wasps and allow easy quantification of multiple trophic interactions between bees, wasps, their food objects and natural enemies. 2. We synthesized all trap nest studies available in the ISI Web of Science™ to provide a comprehensive overview of trap nest res...
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Forest ecosystems are an integral component of the global carbon cycle as they take up and release large amounts of C over short time periods (C flux) or accumulate it over longer time periods (C stock). However, there remains uncertainty about whether and in which direction C fluxes and in particular C stocks may differ between forests of high ver...
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Human-induced biodiversity change impairs ecosystem functions crucial to human well-being. However, the consequences of this change for ecosystem multifunctionality are poorly understood beyond effects of plant species loss, particularly in regions with high biodiversity across trophic levels. Here we adopt a multitrophic perspective to analyze how...
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The genus Proceratium Roger, 1863 contains cryptic, subterranean ants that are seldom sampled and rare in natural history collections. Furthermore, most Proceratium specimens are extremely hairy and, due to their enlarged and curved gaster, often mounted suboptimally. As a consequence, the poorly observable physical characteristics of the material...
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Ponds are home to a diverse community of specialized plants and animals and are hence of great conservation concern. Through land-use changes, ponds have been disappearing rapidly and remaining ponds are often threatened by contamination and eutrophication, with negative consequences for pond-dependent taxa like amphibians or dragonflies (Odonata:...