Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: reconciling the results of experimental and observational studies

Hector, A; Joshi, J; Scherer-Lorenzen, M; Schmid, B; Spehn, E M; Wacker, L; Weilenmann, M; Bazeley-White, E; Beierkuhnlein, C; Caldeira, M C; Dimitrakolpoulos, P G; Finn, J A; Huss-Danell, K; Jumpponen, A; Leadley, P W; Loreau, M; Mulder, C P H; Nesshöver, C; Palmborg, C; Read, D J; Siamantziouras, A S D; Terry, A C; Troumbis, A Y (2007). Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: reconciling the results of experimental and observational studies. Functional Ecology, 21(5):998-1002.

Abstract

Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research has been some of the most controversial of the last decade but rapid progress has been made by deriving hypotheses from the differing view points and challenging them with appropriate experimental and analytical tests (Loreau et al. 2001). Here we address some recent criticisms of the BIODEPTH project (Thompson et al. 2005) and show that: 1. While legume species play an important role in the BIODEPTH results, patterns are not generally consistent with the multispecies sampling effect for legumes proposed by Huston & McBride (2002) as suggested in Thompson et al. (2005). 2. The BIODEPTH results are also not consistent with transient biodiversity effects. Levels of species diversity were generally maintained over the 3 years of the project (i.e. little competitive exclusion) and diversity-productivity relationships in BIODEPTH generally strengthened during the experiments.

Abstract

Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research has been some of the most controversial of the last decade but rapid progress has been made by deriving hypotheses from the differing view points and challenging them with appropriate experimental and analytical tests (Loreau et al. 2001). Here we address some recent criticisms of the BIODEPTH project (Thompson et al. 2005) and show that: 1. While legume species play an important role in the BIODEPTH results, patterns are not generally consistent with the multispecies sampling effect for legumes proposed by Huston & McBride (2002) as suggested in Thompson et al. (2005). 2. The BIODEPTH results are also not consistent with transient biodiversity effects. Levels of species diversity were generally maintained over the 3 years of the project (i.e. little competitive exclusion) and diversity-productivity relationships in BIODEPTH generally strengthened during the experiments.

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