To examine top-down and bottom-up influences on managed terrestrial communities, we manipulated plant resources and arthropod abundance in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) fields. We modified arthropod communities using three nonfactorial manipulations: pitfall traps to remove selected arthropods, wooden crates to create habitat heterogeneity, and an arthropod removal treatment using a reversible leaf blower. These manipulations were crossed with fertilizer additions, which were applied to half of the plots. We found strong effects of fertilizer on plant quality and biomass, and these effects cascaded up to increase herbivore abundance and diversity. The predator community also exhibited a consistent positive effect on the maintenance of herbivore species richness and abundance. These top-down changes in arthropods did not cascade down to affect plant biomass; however, plant quality (saponin content) increased with higher herbivore densities. These results corroborate previous studies in alfalfa that show complex indirect effects, such as trophic cascades, can operate in agricultural systems, but the specifics of the interactions depend on the assemblages of arthropods involved.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.