The Bug-Network

Welcome to the Bug-Network (BugNet)!

We are a global collaborative research network that aims to assess the impact of above and belowground invertebrate herbivores and pathogenic fungi on plant communities and ecosystems.

We just started to search for collaborators all around the globe! If you are interested in contributing to our understanding of the importance and context-dependency of biotic interactions, and would like to contribute data or set-up an exclusion experiment in your area, contact us!

BugNet research questions

  1. How does the functional composition of invertebrate communities vary with abiotic and biotic drivers?
  2. How important are direct effects of climate vs. indirect effects of changes in the plant community?
  3. When do invertebrate herbivores and fungal pathogens have the strongest effects on plant productivity, plant community composition and diversity (large and small spatial scales, abiotic and biotic drivers, e.g. soil fertility, climate, plant diversity, predator abundance, enemy diversity)?
  4. Do above- and belowground invertebrates and fungal pathogens differ in their impact on plant communities? And do they interact with each other?

BugNet aims

  1. To collect data on plant- and invertebrate functional community characteristics to investigate how the functional composition of invertebrate communities changes along abiotic and biotic gradients.
  2. To set up identical above- and belowground invertebrate herbivore and fungal exclusion experiments to quantify plant community and ecosystem responses to above and belowground invertebrate herbivores and fungal pathogens in a wide range of herbaceous-dominated ecosystems, such as desert grasslands to arctic tundra, but also heathlands or Mediterranean shrublands.

The BugNet is run out of the University of Bern and the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (Switzerland).

Photograph taken by Anne Kempel and Andreas Gygax ©