Funded by


The DFG-funded research unit MultiTroph "Multi-trophic interactions in a forest biodiversity experiment in China" (FOR 5281) is investigating the role of tree diversity for multi-trophic interactions and dependent ecosystem functions. MultiTroph works on the BEF-China platform that comprises the worldwide largest tree diversity experiment, located in subtropical southeast China (Jiangxi province).

Experimental design

The BEF-China experiment addresses the fundamental question whether tree diversity matters for the functioning of forest ecosystems. In 2009, a large-scale tree diversity experiment was established using a pool of 42 local subtropical tree species that are planted in plots with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 24 tree species. Thus, it is possible to investigate the effects of tree diversity per se.

​Our focus

Within MultiTroph, Michael Staab leads subproject 6 on 'Trophic interactions and ecological functions of ants'. Starting from October 2022, we will quantify ant diversity and trait distribution to functionally characterize ant communities. To investigate realized trophic niches, we will perform resource choice experiments and measure stable isotopes. By integrating across components of biological organization in a key arthropod taxon, our research will help to understand how the interplay among tree diversity, ant diversity, trait distribution and trophic interactions influences forest ecosystem functionality.

For questions please contact Michael Staab.