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A comparison of the strength of biodiversity effects across multiple functions

  • In order to predict which ecosystem functions are most at risk from biodiversity loss, meta-analyses have generalised results from biodiversity experiments over different sites and ecosystem types. In contrast, comparing the strength of biodiversity effects across a large number of ecosystem processes measured in a single experiment permits more direct comparisons. Here, we present an analysis of 418 separate measures of 38 ecosystem processes. Overall, 45 % of processes were significantly affected by plant species richness, suggesting that, while diversity affects a large number of processes not all respond to biodiversity. We therefore compared the strength of plant diversity effects between different categories of ecosystem processes, grouping processes according to the year of measurement, their biogeochemical cycle, trophic level and compartment (above- or belowground) and according to whether they were measures of biodiversity or other ecosystem processes, biotic or abiotic and static or dynamic. Overall, and for severalIn order to predict which ecosystem functions are most at risk from biodiversity loss, meta-analyses have generalised results from biodiversity experiments over different sites and ecosystem types. In contrast, comparing the strength of biodiversity effects across a large number of ecosystem processes measured in a single experiment permits more direct comparisons. Here, we present an analysis of 418 separate measures of 38 ecosystem processes. Overall, 45 % of processes were significantly affected by plant species richness, suggesting that, while diversity affects a large number of processes not all respond to biodiversity. We therefore compared the strength of plant diversity effects between different categories of ecosystem processes, grouping processes according to the year of measurement, their biogeochemical cycle, trophic level and compartment (above- or belowground) and according to whether they were measures of biodiversity or other ecosystem processes, biotic or abiotic and static or dynamic. Overall, and for several individual processes, we found that biodiversity effects became stronger over time. Measures of the carbon cycle were also affected more strongly by plant species richness than were the measures associated with the nitrogen cycle. Further, we found greater plant species richness effects on measures of biodiversity than on other processes. The differential effects of plant diversity on the various types of ecosystem processes indicate that future research and political effort should shift from a general debate about whether biodiversity loss impairs ecosystem functions to focussing on the specific functions of interest and ways to preserve them individually or in combination.show moreshow less

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Author:Eric Allan, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Markus Fischer, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Alexandra Weigelt, Christiane Roscher, Jussi Baade, Romain L. Barnard, Holger Bessler, Nina Buchmann, Anne Ebeling, Nico Eisenhauer, Christof Engels, Alexander J. F. Fergus, Gerd Gleixner, Marlen Gubsch, Stefan Halle, Alexandra Maria Klein, Ilona Kertscher, Annely Kuu, Markus Lange, Xavier Le Roux, Sebastian T. Meyer, Varvara D. Migunova, Alexandru Milcu, Pascal A. Niklaus, Yvonne Oelmann, Esther Pasalic, Jana S. Petermann, Franck Poly, Tanja Rottstock, Alexander C. W. Sabais, Christoph Scherber, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Stefan Scheu, Sibylle Steinbeiss, Guido Schwichtenberg, Vicky Temperton, Teja Tscharntke, Winfried Voigt, Wolfgang Wilcke, Christian Wirth, Bernhard Schmid
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-012-2589-0
ISSN:0029-8549 (print)
Parent Title (English):Oecologia
Publisher:Springer
Place of publication:New York
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:Bottom-up effects; Carbon cycling; Ecological synthesis; Ecosystem processes; Grasslands; Jena experiment; Nitrogen cycling
Volume:173
Issue:1
Pagenumber:15
First Page:223
Last Page:237
Funder:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG; Swiss National Science Foundation [31003A-107531]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert