Analysis of root traits to test for environmental filtering and niche complementarity in grassland communities

Project: Research

Project participants

  • Haider, Sylvia (Partner)
  • Bruelheide, Helge (Project manager, academic)
  • Jandt, Ute (Project manager, academic)
  • Scheel, Dierk (Project manager, academic)
  • Herz, Katharina (Project staff)


The assembly of a plant community can be either explained by environmental filtering or niche complementarity. These two processes oppose each other, and it is not a priori clear which of them dominates species assembly in a certain community. While much research has been done on aboveground plant traits to understand plant community assembly and ecosystem functioning, there seems to be a blind spot on belowground plant traits. The project BE LOW aims to fill this gap by investigating belowground characteristics of 20 common grassland species of the exploratories. Additionally, root exudates of 10 of the 20 species will be measured in the field, which was only made for greenhouse cultures so far.

Project within the Biodiversity Exploratories (DFG Priority Programme 1374)