University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences


Experiment 313 - Is sodium a catalyst in terrestrial communities and ecosystems?

We propose to explore the geography of Na and the role it plays in regulating both detritivores and decomposition, herbivores and herbivory. We test novel hypotheses that predict how Na demand increases with temperature, Na catalyzes the use of N and P, and plants spike their nectar with Na to attract pollinators. Thus, we test a framework that places Na as a major driver of community and ecosystem ecology. Cedar Creek and ~30 other grassland sites from Texas to the Canadian border will be sampled for ants, other arthropods, and plants to determine the role of Na in shaping communities of grassland herbivores. Sampling will include plant stoichiometry, soil chemistry, a small, short-term Na pulse experiment, flower visitor sampling, stable isotope sampling of aboveground herbivores, and ant Na baiting. Total footprint will be 2m x 100m. We will remove small quantities of plants, soil, and insects for identification and chemical analysis.

Methods for e313


Dataset IDTitleRange of Years (# years with data)