• KiLi Sub Project 4:
  Plant diversity and performance in relation to climate and land use on Mt.   Kilimanjaro: communities, species, populations, ecological genetics

From 03/2010 to 07/2016

Project leader:  Markus Fischer, Andreas Hemp
PhD student:  Neduvoto Mollel, Andreas Enßlin, Gemma Rutten, Marion Renner
Other participating individuals:  Reiner Zimmermann, Margaret Jonathan Mollel, Jouko Rikkinen

Plant diversity and biomass constitute the matrix for the diversity of all other organisms. We address plant biodiversity and performance along altitudinal and land use gradients at genetic, population, community and landscape levels. We record vegetation types surrounding the 60 common study plots and inquire plot histories. We will repeatedly record all plant species present on the 60 plots to address phylogenetic, functional and ethnobotanical community composition and dynamics. In addition, we will study plant species turnover by revisiting sites of >120 existing vegetation records. For all 60 plots, we will record lichen species once, and complete estimates of horizontal and vertical community structure, production and biomass, combining direct measurements with airborne LIDAR data and allometric approaches. To analyse soil-mediated frequency dependence, species responses to different altitudes/climates, and local adaptation within species, we will perform plant-soil feedback experiments, as well as common garden, reciprocal-transplant, and controlled pollination experiments. We closely collaborate with all other subprojects and the National Herbarium of Tanzania in Arusha. We provide important guidance and baseline data for all other subprojects. Moreover, we provide relationships of plant diversity with altitude, climate and disturbance, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, and estimates of resilience and adaptive potential of plants to global change.