Plant species diversity affects carbon and nutrient cycling during litter decomposition, yet the generality of the direction of this effect and its magnitude remain uncertain. With a meta-analysis including 65 field studies across the Earth's major forest ecosystems, we show here that decomposition was faster when litter was composed of more than one species. These positive biodiversity effects were mostly driven by temperate forests, but were more variable in other forests. Litter mixture effects emerged most strongly in early decomposition stages and were related to divergence in litter quality. Litter diversity also accelerated nitrogen, but not phosphorus release, potentially indicating a decoupling of nitrogen and phosphorus cycling and perhaps a shift in ecosystem nutrient limitation with changing biodiversity. Our findings demonstrate the importance of litter diversity effects for carbon and nutrient dynamics during decomposition, and show how these effects vary with litter traits, decomposer complexity and forest characteristics.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data are available on Dryad:https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nk98sf7qc
Data from: Diversity-decomposition relationships in forests worldwideDryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.nk98sf7qc.
- Shenggong Li
- Shenggong Li
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- David Donoso, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador
© 2020, Kou et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
How complex microbial communities respond to climatic fluctuations remains an open question. Due to their relatively short generation times and high functional diversity, microbial populations harbor great potential to respond as a community through a combination of strain-level phenotypic plasticity, adaptation, and species sorting. However, the relative importance of these mechanisms remains unclear. We conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate the degree to which bacterial communities can respond to changes in environmental temperature through a combination of phenotypic plasticity and species sorting alone. We grew replicate soil communities from a single location at six temperatures between 4°C and 50°C. We found that phylogenetically and functionally distinct communities emerge at each of these temperatures, with K-strategist taxa favored under cooler conditions and r-strategist taxa under warmer conditions. We show that this dynamic emergence of distinct communities across a wide range of temperatures (in essence, community-level adaptation) is driven by the resuscitation of latent functional diversity: the parent community harbors multiple strains pre-adapted to different temperatures that are able to ‘switch on’ at their preferred temperature without immigration or adaptation. Our findings suggest that microbial community function in nature is likely to respond rapidly to climatic temperature fluctuations through shifts in species composition by resuscitation of latent functional diversity.
Addressing global biodiversity loss requires an expanded focus on multiple dimensions of biodiversity. While most studies have focused on the consequences of plant interspecific diversity, our mechanistic understanding of how genetic diversity within plant species affects plant productivity remains limited. Here, we use a tree species × genetic diversity experiment to disentangle the effects of species diversity and genetic diversity, and how they are related to tree functional diversity and trophic feedbacks. We found that tree species diversity increased tree productivity via increased tree functional diversity, reduced soil fungal diversity and marginally reduced herbivory. The effects of tree genetic diversity on productivity via functional diversity and soil fungal diversity were negative in monocultures but positive in the mixture of the four tree species tested. Given the complexity of interactions between species and genetic diversity, tree functional diversity and trophic feedbacks on productivity, we suggest that both tree species and genetic diversity should be considered in afforestation.