Ödenwinkel: An Alpine platform for observational and experimental research on the emergence of multidiversity and ecosystem complexity
Studies on ecological successions have a long tradition and strongly contributed to the understanding of community assembly, niche theory and ecosystem structure and functionality. Reports on ecological successions are however mostly restricted to one or two taxonomical groups, neglecting the mutual influences and dependencies between multiple taxonomic groups that are the building blocks of multidiverse communities. We introduce the Alpine research platform Ödenwinkel to promote observational and experimental research on the emergence of multidiversity and ecosystem complexity. We established n = 140 permanent plots along the successional gradient of the forefield of the Ödenwinkelkees glacier at the end of Stubachvalley in the Hohe Tauern range (National Park Hohe Tauern, Land Salzburg, Austria). In summer 2019 we completed a first full inventory of biotic and abiotic characteristics of these plots covering the diversity and composition of vascular plants, bryophytes, arthropods and other animals, bacteria and fungi as well as some geomorphologic properties. In this paper we introduce the design of the research platform and show first results on the diversity and composition of vascular plants along the successional gradient. The Ödenwinkel platform will be available as long-term ecological research site where researchers from various disciplines can contribute to accumulate knowledge on ecological successions and on how interactions between various taxonomical groups structure ecological complexity in this alpine environment.