An excess of niche differences maximizes ecosystem functioning

Godoy, Oscar; Gómez-Aparicio, Lorena; Matías, Luis; Pérez-Ramos, Ignacio M.; Allan, Eric (2020). An excess of niche differences maximizes ecosystem functioning. Nature Communications, 11(1), p. 4180. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41467-020-17960-5

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Ecologists have long argued that higher functioning in diverse communities arises from the niche differences stabilizing species coexistence and from the fitness differences driving competitive dominance. However, rigorous tests are lacking. We couple field-parameterized models of competition between 10 annual plant species with a biodiversity-functioning experiment under two contrasting environmental conditions, to study how coexistence determinants link to biodiversity effects (selection and complementarity). We find that complementarity effects positively correlate with niche differences and selection effects differences correlate with fitness differences. However, niche differences also contribute to selection effects and fitness differences to complementarity effects. Despite this complexity, communities with an excess of niche differences (where niche differences exceeded those needed for coexistence) produce more biomass and have faster decomposition rates under drought, but do not take up nutrients more rapidly. We provide empirical evidence that the mechanisms determining coexistence correlate with those maximizing ecosystem functioning.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Allan, Eric

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

2041-1723

Publisher:

Springer Nature

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

21 Sep 2020 16:06

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2021 20:25

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41467-020-17960-5

PubMed ID:

32826915

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.146273

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/146273

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