Functional and phylogenetic relationships link predators to plant diversity via trophic and non-trophic pathways

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Jing-Ting Chen - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Author)
  • Ming-Qiang Wang - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, Institute of Biology, Chengdu, China (Author)
  • Yi Li - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, CAS - Institute of Botany (Author)
  • Douglas Chesters - , CAS - Institute of Zoology (Author)
  • Arong Luo - , CAS - Institute of Zoology (Author)
  • Wei Zhang - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, State Key Laboratory of Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering of China, School of Life Sciences, Hubei University, Wuhan, China (Author)
  • Peng-Fei Guo - , School of Pharmacy, Guizhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guiyang, China (Author)
  • Shi-Kun Guo - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Author)
  • Qing-Song Zhou - , CAS - Institute of Zoology (Author)
  • Ke-Ping Ma - , CAS - Institute of Botany (Author)
  • Goddert von Oheimb - , Chair of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation (Author)
  • Matthias Kunz - , Chair of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation (Author)
  • Nai-Li Zhang - , Beijing Forestry University (Author)
  • Xiao-Juan Liu - , CAS - Institute of Botany (Author)
  • Helge Bruelheide - , Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle—Jena—Leipzig (Author)
  • Andreas Schuldt - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Chao-Dong Zhu - , CAS - Institute of Zoology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Author)


Human-induced biodiversity loss negatively affects ecosystem function, but the interactive effects of biodiversity change across trophic levels remain insufficiently understood. We sampled arboreal spiders and lepidopteran larvae across seasons in 2 years in a subtropical tree diversity experiment, and then disentangled the links between tree diversity and arthropod predator diversity by deconstructing the pathways among multiple components of diversity (taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional) with structural equation models. We found that herbivores were major mediators of plant species richness effects on abundance, species richness, functional and phylogenetic diversity of predators, while phylogenetic, functional and structural diversity of trees were also important mediators of this process. However, the strength and direction differed between functional, structural and phylogenetic diversity effects, indicating different underlying mechanisms for predator community assembly. Abundance and multiple diversity components of predators were consistently affected by tree functional diversity, indicating that the variation in structure and environment caused by plant functional composition might play key roles in predator community assembly. Our study highlights the importance of an integrated approach based on multiple biodiversity components in understanding the consequences of biodiversity loss in multitrophic communities.


Original languageEnglish
Article number20221658
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1990
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85146104851
ORCID /0000-0001-7408-425X/work/146165277
PubMed 36629113


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • Araneae, BEF-China, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, enemies hypothesis, multiple diversity components, trophic interactions, Humans, Phylogeny, Plants, Biodiversity, Animals, Spiders, Ecosystem, Arthropods