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 502394
Title Species richness and the temporal stability of biomass production: a new analysis of recent biodiversity experiments
Author(s) Gross, K.; Cardinale, B.J.; Fox, J.W.; Gonzalez, A.; Loreau, M.; Polley, H.W.; Reich, P.B.; Ruijven, J. van
Department(s) Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Publication type Dataset
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) biodiversity - ecology - community - species richness - grasslands - algea
Abstract The relationship between biological diversity and ecological stability has fascinated ecologists for decades. Determining the generality of this relationship, and discovering the mechanisms that underlie it, are vitally important for ecosystem management. Here, we investigate how species richness affects the temporal stability of biomass production by re-analyzing 27 recent biodiversity experiments conducted with primary producers. We find that, in grasslands, increasing species richness stabilizes whole-community biomass but destabilizes the dynamics of constituent populations. Community biomass is stabilized because species richness impacts mean biomass more strongly than its variance. In algal communities, species richness has a minimal effect on community stability because richness affects the mean and variance of biomass nearly equally. Using a new measure of synchrony among species, we find that for both grasslands and algae, temporal correlations in species biomass are lower when species are grown together in polyculture than when grown alone in monoculture. These results suggest that interspecific interactions tend to stabilize community biomass in diverse communities. Contrary to prevailing theory, we found no evidence that species' responses to environmental variation in monoculture predicted the strength of diversity's stabilizing effect. Together, these results deepen our understanding of when and why increasing species richness stabilizes community biomass.
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