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Functionally and phylogenetically diverse plant communities key to soil biota


Abstract

Recent studies assessing the role of biological diversity for ecosystem functioning indicate that the diversity of functional traits and the evolutionary history of species in a community, not the number of taxonomic units, ultimately drives the biodiversity–ecosystem-function relationship. Here, we simultaneously assessed the importance of plant functional trait and phylogenetic diversity as predictors of major trophic groups of soil biota (abundance and diversity), six years from the onset of a grassland biodiversity experiment. Plant functional and phylogenetic diversity were generally better predictors of soil biota than the traditionally used species or functional group richness. Functional diversity was a reliable predictor for most biota, with the exception of soil microorganisms, which were better predicted by phylogenetic diversity. These results provide empirical support for the idea that the diversity of plant functional traits and the diversity of evolutionary lineages in a community are important for maintaining higher abundances and diversity of soil communities.

Abstract

Recent studies assessing the role of biological diversity for ecosystem functioning indicate that the diversity of functional traits and the evolutionary history of species in a community, not the number of taxonomic units, ultimately drives the biodiversity–ecosystem-function relationship. Here, we simultaneously assessed the importance of plant functional trait and phylogenetic diversity as predictors of major trophic groups of soil biota (abundance and diversity), six years from the onset of a grassland biodiversity experiment. Plant functional and phylogenetic diversity were generally better predictors of soil biota than the traditionally used species or functional group richness. Functional diversity was a reliable predictor for most biota, with the exception of soil microorganisms, which were better predicted by phylogenetic diversity. These results provide empirical support for the idea that the diversity of plant functional traits and the diversity of evolutionary lineages in a community are important for maintaining higher abundances and diversity of soil communities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:above-belowground interactions, biodiversity, functional diversity, functional traits, Jena Experiment, phylogenetic diversity, plant species richness, soil fauna
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:16 Oct 2013 11:27
Last Modified:23 Nov 2017 06:18
Publisher:Ecological Society of America
ISSN:0012-9658
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1890/12-1936.1

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