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Data from: Fear of predation slows plant-litter decomposition

Citation

Hawlena, Dror; Stickland, Michael S.; Bradford, Mark A.; Schmitz, Oswald J. (2012), Data from: Fear of predation slows plant-litter decomposition, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2cm3h1q7

Abstract

Aboveground consumers are believed to affect ecosystem functioning by regulating the quantity and quality of plant-litter entering the soil. We uncover a novel pathway whereby terrestrial predators regulate ecosystem processes via indirect control over soil community function. Grasshopper herbivores stressed by spider predators have a higher body carbon-to-nitrogen ratio than grasshoppers raised without spiders. This change in elemental content does not slow grasshopper decomposition but perturbs belowground community function, decelerating subsequent decomposition of plant-litter. This legacy effect of predation on soil community function appears to be regulated by the amount of herbivore-protein entering soil.

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