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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Above- and belowground overyielding are related at the community and species level in a grassland biodiversity experiment
Barry, Kathryn E. ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Ruijven, Jasper van; Kroon, Hans de; Ebeling, Anne ; Eisenhauer, Nico ; Gessler, Arthur ; Ravenek, Janneke M. ; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael ; Oram, Natalie J. ; Vogel, Anja ; Wagg, Cameron ; Mommer, Liesje - \ 2019
In: Advances in Ecological Research / Eisenhauer, N., Bohan, D.A., Dumbrell, A.J., Academic Press Inc. (Advances in Ecological Research ) - ISBN 9780081029121 - p. 55 - 89.
Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning - Biomass allocation - Functional diversity - Jena experiment - Light competition - Plant traits - Root biomass - Root:Shoot ratio - Shoot biomass - Species richness

Plant species richness positively affects plant productivity both above- and belowground. While this suggests that they are related at the community level, few studies have calculated above- and belowground overyielding simultaneously. It thus remains unknown whether above- and belowground overyielding are correlated. Moreover, it is unknown how belowground community level overyielding translates to the species level. We investigated above- and belowground overyielding in the Jena Trait-Based Biodiversity Experiment, at both the community and species level and across two 8-species pools. We found that above- and belowground overyielding were positively correlated at the community level and at the species level—for seven out of the 13 investigated species. Some plant species performed better in mixtures compared to monocultures and others performed worse, but the majority did so simultaneously above- and belowground. However, plants invested more in aboveground overyielding than belowground. Based on this disproportional investment in overyielding aboveground, we conclude that light was more limiting than belowground resources in the present study, which requires individual species to compete more for light than for belowground resources.

The Future of Complementarity : Disentangling Causes from Consequences
Barry, Kathryn E. ; Mommer, Liesje ; Ruijven, Jasper van; Wirth, Christian ; Wright, Alexandra J. ; Bai, Yongfei ; Connolly, John ; Deyn, Gerlinde B. De; Kroon, Hans de; Isbell, Forest ; Milcu, Alexandru ; Roscher, Christiane ; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael ; Schmid, Bernhard ; Weigelt, Alexandra - \ 2019
Trends in Ecology and Evolution 34 (2019)2. - ISSN 0169-5347 - p. 167 - 180.
Abiotic facilitation - Biodiversity - Biotic feedbacks - Complementarity - Complementarity effect - Ecosystem functioning - Plant-soil feedback - Resource partitioning - Resource tracers - Stress amelioration

Evidence suggests that biodiversity supports ecosystem functioning. Yet, the mechanisms driving this relationship remain unclear. Complementarity is one common explanation for these positive biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Yet, complementarity is often indirectly quantified as overperformance in mixture relative to monoculture (e.g., ‘complementarity effect’). This overperformance is then attributed to the intuitive idea of complementarity or, more specifically, to species resource partitioning. Locally, however, several unassociated causes may drive this overperformance. Here, we differentiate complementarity into three types of species differences that may cause enhanced ecosystem functioning in more diverse ecosystems: (i) resource partitioning, (ii) abiotic facilitation, and (iii) biotic feedbacks. We argue that disentangling these three causes is crucial for predicting the response of ecosystems to future biodiversity loss.

Data from: Below-ground resource partitioning alone cannot explain the biodiversity–ecosystem function relationship: a field test using multiple tracers
Jesch, Annette ; Barry, Kathryn E. ; Ravenek, Janneke M. ; Bachmann, Dörte ; Strecker, Tanja ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Buchmann, Nina ; Kroon, Hans de; Gessler, Arthur ; Mommer, L. ; Roscher, Christiane ; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael - \ 2018
University of Freiburg
ecosystem function and services - Jena Experiment - Levins B - resource uptake - water uptake - stable isotopes - rare element tracers - complementarity - proportional similarity
Below-ground resource partitioning alone cannot explain the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship : A field test using multiple tracers
Jesch, Annette ; Barry, Kathryn E. ; Ravenek, Janneke M. ; Bachmann, Dörte ; Strecker, Tanja ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Buchmann, Nina ; Kroon, Hans de; Gessler, Arthur ; Mommer, Liesje ; Roscher, Christiane ; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael - \ 2018
Journal of Ecology 106 (2018)5. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 2002 - 2018.
Complementarity - Ecosystem function - Jena Experiment - Levins B - Proportional similarity - Rare element tracers - Resource uptake - Stable isotopes
Below-ground resource partitioning is among the most prominent hypotheses for driving the positive biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship. However, experimental tests of this hypothesis in biodiversity experiments are scarce, and the available evidence is not consistent. We tested the hypothesis that resource partitioning in space, in time or in both space and time combined drives the positive effect of diversity on both plant productivity and total community resource uptake. At the community level, we predicted that total community resource uptake and biomass production above- and below-ground will increase with increased species richness or functional group richness. We predicted that, at the species level, resource partition breadth will become narrower, and that overlap between the resource partitions of different species will become smaller with increasing species richness or functional group richness. We applied multiple resource tracers (Li and Rb as potassium analogues, the water isotopologues-H2 18O and 2H2O, and 15N) in three seasons at two depths across a species and functional group richness gradient at a grassland biodiversity experiment. We used this multidimensional resource tracer study to test if plant species partition resources with increasing plant diversity across space, time or both simultaneously. At the community level, total community resource uptake of nitrogen and potassium and above- and below-ground biomass increased significantly with increasing species richness but not with increasing functional group richness. However, we found no evidence that resource partition breadth or resource partition overlap decreased with increasing species richness for any resource in space, time or both space and time combined. Synthesis. These findings indicate that below-ground resource partitioning may not drive the enhanced resource uptake or biomass production found here. Instead, other mechanisms such as facilitation, species-specific biotic feedback or above-ground resource partitioning are likely necessary for enhanced overall ecosystem function.
Below-ground complementarity effects in a grassland biodiversity experiment are related to deep-rooting species
Oram, Natalie J. ; Ravenek, Janneke M. ; Barry, Kathryn E. ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Chen, Hongmei ; Gessler, Arthur ; Gockele, Annette ; Kroon, Hans de; Paauw, Jan Willem van der; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael ; Smit-Tiekstra, Annemiek ; Ruijven, Jasper van; Mommer, Liesje - \ 2018
Journal of Ecology 106 (2018)1. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 265 - 277.
Additive partitioning - Diversity-productivity relationship - Jena Trait-Based Experiment - Molecular markers - Resource partitioning - Root distribution

Below-ground resource partitioning is often proposed as the underlying mechanism for the positive relationship between plant species richness and productivity. For example, if species have different root distributions, a mixture of plant species may be able to use the available resources more completely than the individual species in a monoculture. However, there is little experimental evidence for differentiation in vertical root distributions among species and its contribution to biodiversity effects. We determined species-specific root standing biomass over depth using molecular techniques (real-time qPCR) in a large grassland biodiversity experiment (one to eight plant species mixtures), in 2 years. Species-specific root biomass data were used to disentangle the effects of positive interactions between species (complementarity effects) and effects due to dominance of productive species (selection effects) on root biomass in mixtures. In a next step, these biodiversity effects were linked to the diversity of rooting depths and the averaged rooting depth of the community. Root biomass increased with species richness. This was mainly due to positive interactions (the complementarity effect), which increased with species richness below-ground. In contrast, the selection effect decreased with species richness. Although there was considerable variation in vertical root distribution between species in monocultures, the diversity of rooting strategies did not explain the complementarity effect. Rather, the abundance of deep-rooting species in mixtures (i.e. high community-weighted mean) was significantly related to the complementarity effect. Comparing the "predicted" root distribution (based on monocultures) to the actual distribution in mixtures, we found that mixtures rooted deeper than expected, but this did not better explain the complementarity effect. Synthesis. This study demonstrates that vertical root distributions of species provide only subtle evidence for resource partitioning. We found no evidence that functional diversity in vertical rooting patterns was important for the complementarity effect, in contrast to our expectation that the enhancement of productivity was due to resource partitioning. Alternatively, we found significant but weak relationships between the complementarity effect and deep-rooting communities, based on the community-weighted mean root distribution. This suggests that factors other than below-ground resource partitioning alone may drive the biodiversity-productivity relationship.

Root chemistry and soil fauna, but not soil abiotic conditions explain the effects of plant diversity on root decomposition
Chen, Hongmei ; Oram, Natalie J. ; Barry, Kathryn E. ; Mommer, Liesje ; Ruijven, Jasper van; Kroon, Hans de; Ebeling, Anne ; Eisenhauer, Nico ; Fischer, Christine ; Gleixner, Gerd ; Gessler, Arthur ; González Macé, Odette ; Hacker, Nina ; Hildebrandt, Anke ; Lange, Markus ; Scherer-lorenzen, Michael ; Scheu, Stefan ; Oelmann, Yvonne ; Wagg, Cameron ; Wilcke, Wolfgang ; Wirth, Christian ; Weigelt, Alexandra - \ 2017
Oecologia 185 (2017)3. - ISSN 0029-8549 - p. 499 - 511.
Functional groups - Jena Experiment - Root litter - SEM - Species richness
Plant diversity influences many ecosystem functions including root decomposition. However, due to the presence of multiple pathways via which plant diversity may affect root decomposition, our mechanistic understanding of their relationships is limited. In a grassland biodiversity experiment, we simultaneously assessed the effects of three pathways—root litter quality, soil biota, and soil abiotic conditions—on the relationships between plant diversity (in terms of species richness and the presence/absence of grasses and legumes) and root decomposition using structural equation modeling. Our final structural equation model explained 70% of the variation in root mass loss. However, different measures of plant diversity included in our model operated via different pathways to alter root mass loss. Plant species richness had a negative effect on root mass loss. This was partially due to increased Oribatida abundance, but was weakened by enhanced root potassium (K) concentration in more diverse mixtures. Equally, grass presence negatively affected root mass loss. This effect of grasses was mostly mediated via increased root lignin concentration and supported via increased Oribatida abundance and decreased root K concentration. In contrast, legume presence showed a net positive effect on root mass loss via decreased root lignin concentration and increased root magnesium concentration, both of which led to enhanced root mass loss. Overall, the different measures of plant diversity had contrasting effects on root decomposition. Furthermore, we found that root chemistry and soil biota but not root morphology or soil abiotic conditions mediated these effects of plant diversity on root decomposition.
Biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning in a 15-year grassland experiment : Patterns, mechanisms, and open questions
Weisser, Wolfgang ; Roscher, Christiane ; Meyer, Sebastian T. ; Ebeling, Anne ; Luo, Guangjuan ; Allan, Eric ; Beßler, Holger ; Barnard, Romain L. ; Buchmann, Nina ; Buscot, François ; Engels, Christof ; Fischer, Christine ; Fischer, Markus ; Gessler, Arthur ; Gleixner, Gerd ; Halle, Stefan ; Hildebrandt, Anke ; Hillebrand, Helmut ; Kroon, Hans de; Lange, Markus ; Leimer, Sophia ; Roux, Xavier Le; Milcu, Alexandru ; Mommer, Liesje ; Niklaus, Pascal A. ; Oelmann, Yvonne ; Proulx, Raphael ; Roy, Jacques ; Scherber, Christoph ; Scherer-lorenzen, Michael ; Scheu, Stefan ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Wachendorf, Michael ; Wagg, Cameron ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Wilcke, Wolfgang ; Wirth, Christian ; Schulze, Ernst Detlef ; Schmid, Bernhard ; Eisenhauer, Nico - \ 2017
Basic and Applied Ecology 23 (2017). - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 1 - 73.
Biomass - Carbon storage - Complementarity - Multi-trophic interactions - Nutrient cycling - Selection effect
In the past two decades, a large number of studies have investigated the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, most of which focussed on a limited set of ecosystem variables. The Jena Experiment was set up in 2002 to investigate the effects of plant diversity on element cycling and trophic interactions, using a multi-disciplinary approach. Here, we review the results of 15 years of research in the Jena Experiment, focussing on the effects of manipulating plant species richness and plant functional richness. With more than 85,000 measures taken from the plant diversity plots, the Jena Experiment has allowed answering fundamental questions important for functional biodiversity research.First, the question was how general the effect of plant species richness is, regarding the many different processes that take place in an ecosystem. About 45% of different types of ecosystem processes measured in the 'main experiment', where plant species richness ranged from 1 to 60 species, were significantly affected by plant species richness, providing strong support for the view that biodiversity is a significant driver of ecosystem functioning. Many measures were not saturating at the 60-species level, but increased linearly with the logarithm of species richness. There was, however, great variability in the strength of response among different processes. One striking pattern was that many processes, in particular belowground processes, took several years to respond to the manipulation of plant species richness, showing that biodiversity experiments have to be long-term, to distinguish trends from transitory patterns. In addition, the results from the Jena Experiment provide further evidence that diversity begets stability, for example stability against invasion of plant species, but unexpectedly some results also suggested the opposite, e.g. when plant communities experience severe perturbations or elevated resource availability. This highlights the need to revisit diversity-stability theory.Second, we explored whether individual plant species or individual plant functional groups, or biodiversity itself is more important for ecosystem functioning, in particular biomass production. We found strong effects of individual species and plant functional groups on biomass production, yet these effects mostly occurred in addition to, but not instead of, effects of plant species richness.Third, the Jena Experiment assessed the effect of diversity on multitrophic interactions. The diversity of most organisms responded positively to increases in plant species richness, and the effect was stronger for above- than for belowground organisms, and stronger for herbivores than for carnivores or detritivores. Thus, diversity begets diversity. In addition, the effect on organismic diversity was stronger than the effect on species abundances.Fourth, the Jena Experiment aimed to assess the effect of diversity on N, P and C cycling and the water balance of the plots, separating between element input into the ecosystem, element turnover, element stocks, and output from the ecosystem. While inputs were generally less affected by plant species richness, measures of element stocks, turnover and output were often positively affected by plant diversity, e.g. carbon storage strongly increased with increasing plant species richness. Variables of the N cycle responded less strongly to plant species richness than variables of the C cycle.Fifth, plant traits are often used to unravel mechanisms underlying the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. In the Jena Experiment, most investigated plant traits, both above- and belowground, were plastic and trait expression depended on plant diversity in a complex way, suggesting limitation to using database traits for linking plant traits to particular functions.Sixth, plant diversity effects on ecosystem processes are often caused by plant diversity effects on species interactions. Analyses in the Jena Experiment including structural equation modelling suggest complex interactions that changed with diversity, e.g. soil carbon storage and greenhouse gas emission were affected by changes in the composition and activity of the belowground microbial community. Manipulation experiments, in which particular organisms, e.g. belowground invertebrates, were excluded from plots in split-plot experiments, supported the important role of the biotic component for element and water fluxes.Seventh, the Jena Experiment aimed to put the results into the context of agricultural practices in managed grasslands. The effect of increasing plant species richness from 1 to 16 species on plant biomass was, in absolute terms, as strong as the effect of a more intensive grassland management, using fertiliser and increasing mowing frequency. Potential bioenergy production from high-diversity plots was similar to that of conventionally used energy crops. These results suggest that diverse 'High Nature Value Grasslands' are multifunctional and can deliver a range of ecosystem services including production-related services.A final task was to assess the importance of potential artefacts in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, caused by the weeding of the plant community to maintain plant species composition. While the effort (in hours) needed to weed a plot was often negatively related to plant species richness, species richness still affected the majority of ecosystem variables. Weeding also did not negatively affect monoculture performance; rather, monocultures deteriorated over time for a number of biological reasons, as shown in plant-soil feedback experiments.To summarize, the Jena Experiment has allowed for a comprehensive analysis of the functional role of biodiversity in an ecosystem. A main challenge for future biodiversity research is to increase our mechanistic understanding of why the magnitude of biodiversity effects differs among processes and contexts. It is likely that there will be no simple answer. For example, among the multitude of mechanisms suggested to underlie the positive plant species richness effect on biomass, some have received limited support in the Jena Experiment, such as vertical root niche partitioning. However, others could not be rejected in targeted analyses. Thus, from the current results in the Jena Experiment, it seems likely that the positive biodiversity effect results from several mechanisms acting simultaneously in more diverse communities, such as reduced pathogen attack, the presence of more plant growth promoting organisms, less seed limitation, and increased trait differences leading to complementarity in resource uptake. Distinguishing between different mechanisms requires careful testing of competing hypotheses. Biodiversity research has matured such that predictive approaches testing particular mechanisms are now possible.
Plant species richness negatively affects root decomposition in grasslands
Chen, Hongmei ; Mommer, Liesje ; Ruijven, Jasper Van; Kroon, Hans De; Fischer, Christine ; Gessler, Arthur ; Hildebrandt, Anke ; Scherer-lorenzen, Michael ; Wirth, Christian ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Wurzburger, Nina - \ 2017
Journal of Ecology 105 (2017)1. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 209 - 218.
1. Plant diversity enhances many ecosystem functions, including root biomass production, which drives soil carbon input. Although root decomposition accounts for a large proportion of carbon input for soil, little is known about plant diversity effect on this process. Plant diversity may affect root decomposition in two non-exclusive ways: by providing roots of different substrate quality (e.g. root chemistry) and/or by altering the soil environment (e.g. microclimate).
2. To disentangle these two pathways, we conducted three decomposition experiments using a litter-bag approach in a grassland biodiversity experiment. We hypothesized that: (i) plant species richness negatively affects substrate quality (indicated by increased C:N ratios), which we tested by decomposing roots collected from each experimental plot in one common plot; (ii) plant species richness positively affects soil environment (indicated by increased soil water content), which we tested by decomposing standardized roots in all experimental plots; (iii) the overall effect of plant species richness on root decomposition, due to the contrast between quality and environmental effects, is neutral, which we tested by decomposing community roots in their ‘home’ plots.
3. Plant species richness negatively affected root decomposition in all three experiments. The negative effect of plant species richness on substrate quality was largely explained by increased root C:N ratios along the diversity gradient. Functional group presence explained more variance in substrate quality than species richness. Here, the presence of grasses negatively affected substrate quality and root C:N ratios, while the presence of legumes and small herbs had positive effects. Plant species richness had a negative effect on soil environment despite its positive effect on soil water content which is known to stimulate decomposition. We argue that – instead of soil water content – a combined effect of soil temperature and seasonality might drive environmental effect of plant diversity on decomposition in our plant communities, but this remains to be tested.
4. Synthesis. Our results demonstrate that both substrate quality and soil environment contribute to the net negative effect of plant diversity on root decomposition. This study promotes our mechanistic understanding of increased soil carbon accumulation in more diverse grassland plant communities.

Data from: Plant species richness negatively affects root decomposition in grasslands
Chen, H. ; Mommer, L. ; Ruijven, J. van; Kroon, H. de; Fischer, C. ; Gessler, A. ; Hildebrandt, A. ; Scherer-Lorenzen, M. ; Wirth, C. ; Weigelt, A. - \ 2016
Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning - C:N ratio - litter bags - microenvironment - plant diversity - plant functional group - plant-soil (below-ground) interactions - root substrate quality - soil water content - the jena experiment
This data set contains mass loss of community roots decomposing in the common plot in the Jena experiment in 2014. The Metadata contains the Dataset ID in the Jena Experiment database and detailed information of column: 'plotcode' is plot ID in the Jena Experiment; 'bag_ID' is the ID for litter bags within each decomposition experiment; 'root_type' is the type of roots in the litter bags where plot coded for community roots, lolium coded for standardized roots; 'site' is the location of where decomposition happened; 'sector' is the subplots in common plot; 'mass_initial' is root mass in the litter bags before buried in the field and handling loss is seduced already; 'mass_remain' is root mass in the litter bags at each retrieval; 'date_in' is the exact dates when the litter bags were buried. In the form of DD-MM-YY; 'date_out' is the exact dates when the litter bags were retrieved. In the form of DD-MM-YY; 'actual_decomptime' is the exact days litter bags were in the field; 'massloss' is actual mass loss =100 - mass_remain/mass_initial*100; 'std_decomptime' is standardized days litter bags were in the field; 'std_massloss' is stadardized mass loss = massloss/actual_decomp.time*std_decomp.time.
Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests
Liang, J. ; Crowther, T.W. ; Picard, N. ; Wiser, S. ; Zhou, M. ; Alberti, G. ; Schulze, E.D. ; Mcguire, A.D. ; Bozzato, F. ; Pretzsch, H. ; Miguel, S. de; Paquette, A. ; Herault, B. ; Scherer-lorenzen, M. ; Barrett, C.B. ; Glick, H.B. ; Hengeveld, G.M. ; Nabuurs, Gert-Jan ; Pfautsch, S. ; Viana, H. ; Vibrans, A.C. ; Ammer, C. ; Schall, P. ; Verbyla, D. ; Tchebakova, N. ; Fischer, M. ; Watson, J.V. ; Chen, Han Y.H. ; Lei, X. ; Schelhaas, M.J. ; Lu, Huicui ; Gianelle, D. ; Parfenova, E.I. ; Salas, C. ; Lee, E. ; Lee, B. ; Kim, H.S. ; Bruelheide, H. ; Coomes, D.A. ; Piotto, D. ; Sunderland, T. ; Schmid, B. ; Gourlet-Fleury, S. ; Sonke, B. ; Tavani, R. ; Zhu, J. ; Brandl, S. ; Vayreda, J. ; Kitahara, F. ; Searle, E.B. ; Neldner, V.J. ; Ngugi, M.R. ; Baraloto, C. ; Frizzera, L. ; Ba Azy, R. ; Oleksyn, J. ; Zawila-Niedzwiecki, T. ; Bouriaud, O. ; Bussotti, F. ; Finer, L. ; Jaroszewicz, B. ; Jucker, T. ; Valladares, F. ; Jagodzinski, A.M. ; Peri, P.L. ; Gonmadje, C. ; Marthy, W. ; Obrien, T. ; Martin, E.H. ; Marshall, A.R. ; Rovero, F. ; Bitariho, R. ; Niklaus, P.A. ; Alvarez-Loayza, P. ; Chamuya, N. ; Valencia, R. ; Mortier, F. ; Wortel, V. ; Engone-Obiang, N.L. ; Ferreira, L.V. ; Odeke, D.E. ; Vasquez, R.M. ; Lewis, S.L. ; Reich, P.B. - \ 2016
Science 354 (2016)6309. - ISSN 0036-8075 - 15 p.
The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion to 490 billion per year according to our estimation—is more than twice what it would cost to implement effective global conservation. This highlights the need for a worldwide reassessment of biodiversity values, forest management strategies, and conservation priorities.
Biodiversity simultaneously enhances the production and stability of community biomass, but the effects are independent
Cardinale, B.J. ; Gross, K. ; Fritschie, K. ; Flombaum, P. ; Fox, J. ; Rixen, C. ; Ruijven, J. van; Reich, P.B. ; Scherer-Lorenzen, M. ; Wilsey, B.J. - \ 2013
Ecology 94 (2013)8. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 1697 - 1707.
plant diversity - ecosystem services - species-richness - statistical inevitability - grassland experiment - current knowledge - complementarity - impacts - niche - multifunctionality
Human domination of the planet is dismantling Earth's ecosystems one gene, species, and biological trait at a time. To predict the ecological consequences of biodiversity loss, researchers have spent much of the past two decades quantifying how biological variation affects the magnitude and stability of ecological processes that underlie the functioning of ecosystems. Here we add to this work by looking at how biodiversity jointly impacts two aspects of ecosystem functioning at once: (1) the production of biomass at any single point in time (biomass area-1 or volume-1), and (2) the stability of biomass production through time (the CV-1 of changes in total community biomass through time). While is often assumed that biodiversity simultaneously enhances both aspects of ecosystem functioning, the joint distribution of data describing how species richness impacts productivity and stability has yet to be quantified. Furthermore, analyses have yet to examine how diversity effects on production covary with diversity effects on stability. To overcome these two gaps, we re-analyzed 34 experiments that have manipulated the richness of terrestrial plants or aquatic algae and measured how diversity affects community biomass at multiple time points. Our re-analysis confirms that biodiversity does indeed simultaneously enhance both the production and stability of biomass, and this is broadly true for a variety of primary producers. However, the strength of diversity effects on biomass production is independent of diversity effects on temporal stability. Independence of effect sizes leads to two important conclusions. First, while it may be generally true that biodiversity enhances both productivity and stability, it is also true that the highest levels of productivity in a diverse community are not associated with the highest levels of stability. Thus, on average, diversity does not maximize the various aspects of ecosystem functioning we might wish to achieve in the conservation and management. Second, knowing how biodiversity affects productivity gives no information about how diversity affects stability (or vice versa). If we are to understand and predict the variety of ecological changes that occur in ecosystems after extinction, it is imperative that we develop separate mechanistic models for each independent aspect of ecosystem functioning.
High plant diversity is needed tomaintain ecosystem services
Isbell, F. ; Calcagno, V. ; Hector, A. ; Connolly, J. ; Harpole, W.S. ; Reich, P.B. ; Scherer-Lorenzen, M. ; Ruijven, J. van - \ 2011
Nature 477 (2011)7363. - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 199 - 202.
grassland experiment - biomass production - current knowledge - elevated co2 - biodiversity - productivity - communities - ecology - insurance - stability
Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide1, and there is consensus that this can decrease ecosystem functioning and services2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. It remains unclear, though, whether few8 or many9 of the species in an ecosystem are needed to sustain the provisioning of ecosystem services. It has been hypothesized that most species would promote ecosystem services if many times, places, functions and environmental changes were considered9; however, no previous study has considered all of these factors together. Here we show that 84% of the 147 grassland plant species studied in 17 biodiversity experiments promoted ecosystem functioning at least once. Different species promoted ecosystem functioning during different years, at different places, for different functions and under different environmental change scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one function during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple functions within one year. Our results indicate that even more species will be needed to maintain ecosystem functioning and services than previously suggested by studies that have either (1) considered only the number of species needed to promote one function under one set of environmental conditions, or (2) separately considered the importance of biodiversity for providing ecosystem functioning across multiple years10, 11, 12, 13, 14, places15, 16, functions14, 17, 18 or environmental change scenarios12, 19, 20, 21, 22. Therefore, although species may appear functionally redundant when one function is considered under one set of environmental conditions7, many species are needed to maintain multiple functions at multiple times and places in a changing world.
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