Research in our workgroup focuses on diversity patterns in plant and mycorrhizal fungal communities and the mechanisms underlying these patterns. The main questions we ask are: How do communities vary along natural gradients and gradients of human impact? What major assembly rules shape communities? What are the roles of different biotic interactions - including competition, herbivory, and symbiosis - in structuring communities? Considered as a whole, the research in the community ecology workgroup aims to understand why particular diversity patterns emerge and the best ways of managing them to protect biodiversity.