Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 410491
Title Soil microbes contribute to the classic plant diversity-productivity pattern
Author(s) Schnitzer, S.A.; Klironomos, J.N.; HilleRisLambers, J.; Kinkel, L.L.; Reich, P.B.; Nes, E.H. van; Scheffer, M.
Source Ecology 92 (2011)2. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 296 - 303.
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) arbuscular mycorrhizae - nitrogen deposition - species-diversity - elevated co2 - biodiversity - feedback - disease - ecosystems - communities - pathogens
Abstract Ecosystem productivity commonly increases asymptotically with plant species diversity, and determining the mechanisms responsible for this well-known pattern is essential to predict potential changes in ecosystem productivity with ongoing species loss. Previous studies attributed the asymptotic diversity–productivity pattern to plant competition and differential resource use (e.g., niche complementarity). Using an analytical model and a series of experiments, we demonstrate theoretically and empirically that host-specific soil microbes can be major determinants of the diversity–productivity relationship in grasslands. In the presence of soil microbes, plant disease decreased with increasing diversity, and productivity increased nearly 500%, primarily because of the strong effect of density-dependent disease on productivity at low diversity. Correspondingly, disease was higher in plants grown in conspecific-trained soils than heterospecific-trained soils (demonstrating host-specificity), and productivity increased and host-specific disease decreased with increasing community diversity, suggesting that disease was the primary cause of reduced productivity in species-poor treatments. In sterilized, microbe-free soils, the increase in productivity with increasing plant species number was markedly lower than the increase measured in the presence of soil microbes, suggesting that niche complementarity was a weaker determinant of the diversity–productivity relationship. Our results demonstrate that soil microbes play an integral role as determinants of the diversity–productivity relationship
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