Food Web Interactions and Ecosystem Processes

Ecosystem process rates can be sensitive to changes in trophic structure and biodiversity. Linkages in real food webs are far more complex than simplified trophic-levels suggest, but it currently remains unclear how much of this complexity is needed to maintain ecosystem functioning. The goal of this work is to identify modules within complex food webs that can be used to understand the effects of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem processes. Results to date demonstrate the importance of linkages between detritus and primary producer food webs, and they emphasize the importance of studying functionally complete food webs.

Selected Publications:

Networks are useful for visualization and quantification of management actions that will directly and indirectly alter ecosystem services.2017Dee, L., S. Allesina, A. Bonn, A. Eklöf, S. D. Gaines, J. Hines, U. Jacob, E. McDonald-Madden, H. Possingham, M. Schröter, R. M. Thompson. 2017. Operationalizing network theory for ecosystem service assessments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32: 118-130 link
Global change reduces invertebrate body size but effects are density dependent.2016Hines, J.E., M. Reyes, M.O. Gessner. 2016. Density constrains cascading consequences of warming and nitrogen from invertebrate growth to litter decomposition. Ecology 97: 1635-1642pdf
A reminder that experiments are used to understand mechanisms underlying patterns and processes observed in natural systems-- a response to skepticism from David Wardle.2016Eisenhauer, N., A. Barnes, C. Cesarz, D. Craven, O. Ferlian, F. Gottschall, J. Hines, A. Sendek, J. Siebert, M. Thakur, M. Türke. 2016. Biodiversity-ecosystem function experiments reveal the mechanisms underlying the consequences of biodiversity change in real world ecosystems. Journal of Vegetation Science 27: 1061–1070. pdf
An evaluation of progress and limitations in more than five decades of food web and biodiversity research. Trends suggest that the next generation of ecologists will be prepared to use network analysis to bridge previous gaps between theory and policy. 2015Hines, J., W. H. van der Putten, G. B. De Deyn, C. Wagg, W. Voigt, C. Mulder, W. Weisser, J. Engel, C. Melian, S. Scheu, K. Birkhofer, A. Ebeling, C. Scherber, N. Eisenhauer. 2015. Towards an integration of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning and food-web theory to evaluate connections between multiple ecosystem services. Advances in Ecological Research 53 (1): 161-199 Guy Woodward, David A. Bohan, editors. UK: Academic Press link
Soil food webs can enhance plant growth response to elevated CO2 and influence how much carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere. The magnitude of soil food web effects rival in magnitude the influences of abiotic drivers such as salinity and nitrogen deposition. Climate fluctuations influences variation in abiotic and biotic drivers underpinning inter-annual variation in plant response to elevated CO2.2015Hines, J., N. Eisenhauer, B. Drake. 2015. Inter-annual changes in detritus-based food chains can enhance plant growth response to elevated atmospheric CO2. Global Change Biology 21: 4642-4650 pdf
We examine the influence of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment on research priorities for natural and social sciences. 2015Mulder, C., E. M. Bennett, D. A. Bohan, M. Bonkowski, S. R. Carpenter, R. Chalmers, W. Cramer, I. Durance, N. Eisenhauer, A. J. Haughton, J.-P. Hettelingh, J. Hines, S. Ibanez, E. Jeppesen, J. Adams Krumins, A. Ma, G. Mancinelli, F. Massol, Ó. McLaughlin, S. Naeem, U. Pascual, J. Peñuelas, N. Pettorelli, M. J. O. Pocock, D. Raffaelli, J. J. Rasmussen, G. M. Rusch, C. Scherber, H. Setälä, W. J. Sutherland, C. Vacher, W. Voigt, J. A. Vonk, S. A. Wood, G. Woodward. 2015. 10 Years Later: Revising Priorities for Science and Society a decade after the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. In Ecosystem Services: From Biodiversity to Society, Advances in Ecological Research: 53 (1) pp. 1-53, Guy Woodward, David A. Bohan, editors. UK: Academic Press link
Environmental problems are becoming increasingly global in scope, which leads to the demand for rapid ecosystem assessments that can be used to compare ecosystem properties across environments. Here we improve upon a method of accurate, rapid ecosystem assessment of soil biological activity.2014Eisenhauer, N., D. Wirsch, S. Cesarz, D. Craven, P. Dietrich, J. Friese, J. Helm, J. Hines, M. Schellenberg, P. Scherreiks, B. Schwarz, S. Uhe, K. Wagner, K. Steinauer. 2014. Organic textile dye improves the visual assessment of the bait-lamina test. Applied Soil Ecology 82: 78–81. link
A comment on responsible science in response to Velland et al's assessment of factors influencing biodiversity changes at a local scale.2014Wright, A. J, M. Bernhardt-Römermann, D. Craven, A. Ebeling, J. Engel, J. Hines, N. Eisenhauer. 2014. Proceedings of Peerage of Science 1: e6. pdf
Do diverse communities have stronger effects on ecosystem functioning under stressful, as opposed to favourable conditions? Here we introduce a paper that tests the stress-gradient hypothesis in an aquatic detritus-detritivore system.2012Gessner, M. O., and J.E. Hines. 2012. Stress as a modifier of biodiversity effects on ecosystem processes? Journal of Animal Ecology 81: 1143-1145. pdf
Diagram of Food WebWe present experimental results showing that primary consumers can influence ecosystem process rates not only within, but also
across primary producer and decomposer based food web compartments. Although traditionally divided, these subwebs are tightly linked.
2012 Hines, J.E., and M.O. Gessner. 2012. Consumer trophic diversity as a fundamental mechanism linking predation and ecosystem functioning. Journal of Animal Ecology: 81 1146-1153. pdf
We provide a quantitative and qualitative review of mechanisms that determine the vulnerability of focal plants to herbivores.2009Barbosa, P., J.E. Hines, I. Kaplan, H. Martinson, A. Szczepaniec, Z. Szendrei. 2009. Associational resistance and susceptibility: Having right or wrong neighbors. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 40: 1-20. pdf
Genetic diversity increases thermal tolerance of foraging ants, which enhances colony fitness. This leads to an apparent paradox where both diversity and relatedness promote benefits of social cooperation.2008Wiernasz, D.C., J. Hines, D.G. Parker, B.J. Cole. 2008. Mating for variety increases foraging activity in the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis. Molecular Ecology 17: 1137-1144. pdf
Here, we present a compiled database of the allometry and nutritional
stoichiometry (N and P) of detritivorous arthropods. We test the influence of phylogeny, body size, and trophic level on arthropod elemental composition.
2008Martinson, H.M., K. Schneider, J. Gilbert, J.E. Hines, P.A. Hambäck, W.F. Fagan. 2008. Detritivory: Stoichiometry of a neglected trophic level. Ecological Research 23: 487-491. pdf
What is the sphere of influence of species interactions? Here we show that the influence of soil resource ratios on below ground soil microbial activity extends across four trophic levels to influence abundance of above ground predators.2006 Hines, J.E., J.P. Megonigal, and R.F. Denno. 2006. Nutrient subsidies to belowground microbes impact aboveground food web interactions. Ecology 87: 1542-1555. pdf
Life history traits of planthoppers can be used as key indicators of both habitat fragmentation and nutrient pollution.2006Hines, J.E., M.E. Lynch, and R.F. Denno. 2005. Sap-feeder communities as indicators of habitat fragmentation and nutrient subsidies. Journal of Insect Conservation 9: 261-280. pdf