Browsing by Subject "biodiversity-ecosystem functioning"

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  • Walde, Manuel; Allan, Eric; Cappelli, Seraina L.; Didion-Gency, Margaux; Gessler, Arthur; Lehmann, Marco M.; Pichon, Noemie A.; Grossiord, Charlotte (2021)
    Many experiments have shown that biodiversity promotes ecosystem functioning and stability and that this relationship varies with resource availability. However, we still have a poor understanding of the underlying physiological and ecological mechanisms driving diversity effects and how they may interact with soil nutrient availability. We collected data in a grassland experiment factorially manipulating fertilization, species richness (SR), functional composition (slow-growing vs. fast-growing species) and functional diversity in resource economic traits. We measured above-ground productivity (AP), nitrogen (N) uptake, photosynthesis and water use efficiency by combining a N-15 labelling approach with productivity, gas exchange and stable isotope measurements in 3 years differing in rainfall. We found that sown SR increased AP, N uptake and photosynthesis, suggesting that SR is the most important driver of ecosystem productivity and nutrient cycling. Similarly, photosynthesis was affected by functional composition but not by functional diversity. Water use efficiency was reduced by sown SR for communities dominated by slow-growing species but not for communities dominated by fast-growing species. Fertilization increased productivity, N uptake and water use efficiency. The positive effects of high SR on ecosystem functions were independent of fertility levels. Synthesis. Our results provide evidence that high species richness in temperate grasslands could enhance productivity and reduce the negative impacts of drought events. Multiple factors and community characteristics are important in driving enhanced ecosystem functioning in biodiverse grasslands and seem to affect functioning and stability through different mechanisms.
  • Gammal, Johanna; Hewitt, Judi; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf; Thrush, Simon (2020)
    The biodiversity crisis has increased interest in understanding the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning. Functional traits are often used to infer ecosystem functions to increase our understanding of these relationships over larger spatial scales. The links between specific traits and ecosystem functioning are, however, not always well established. We investigated how the choice of analyzing either individual species, selected modalities, or trait combinations affected the spatial patterns observed on a sandflat and how this was related to the natural variability in ecosystem functioning. A large dataset of 400 benthic macrofauna samples was used to explore distribution patterns. We hypothesized that (1) if multiple species (redundancy) represent a trait combination or a modality their spatial patterns would be smoothed out, and (2) the lost spatial variability within a trait combination or modality, due to the smoothing effect, would potentially affect their utility for predicting ecosystem functioning (tested on a dataset of 24 samples). We predicted that species would show heterogeneous small spatial patterns, while modalities and trait combinations would show larger and more homogeneous patterns because they would represent a collection of many distributions. If modalities and trait combinations are better predictors of ecosystem functioning than species, then the smoother spatial patterns of modalities and trait combinations would result in a more homogeneous landscape of ecosystem function and the number of species exhibiting specific traits would provide functional redundancy. Our results showed some smoothing of spatial patterns progressing from species through modalities to trait combinations, but generally spatial patterns reflected a few dominant key species. Moreover, some individual modalities and species explained more or equal proportions of the variance in the ecosystem functioning than the combined traits. The findings thus suggest that only some spatial variability is lost when species are combined into modalities and trait combinations and that a homogeneous landscape of ecosystem function is not likely.
  • Gammal, Johanna; Järnström, Marie; Bernard, Guillaume; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    The ongoing loss of biodiversity and global environmental changes severely affect the structure of coastal ecosystems. Consequences, in terms of ecosystem functioning, are, however, difficult to predict because the context dependency of the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships within these heterogeneous seascapes is poorly understood. To assess the effects of biological and environmental factors in mediating ecosystem functioning (nutrient cycling) in different natural habitats, intact sediment cores were collected at 18 sites on a grain size gradient from coarse sand to silt, with varying organic matter content and vegetation. To assess ecosystem functioning, solute fluxes (O-2, NH4+, PO43-, Si) across the sediment-water interface were measured. The macrofaunal communities changed along the grain size gradient with higher abundance, biomass and number of species in coarser sediments and in habitats with more vegetation. Across the whole gradient, the macrofauna cumulatively accounted for 25% of the variability in the multivariate solute fluxes, whereas environmental variables cumulatively accounted for 20%. Only the biomass and abundance of a few of the most dominant macrofauna species, not the number of species, appeared to contribute significantly to the nutrient recycling processes. Closer analyses of different sediment types (grouped into coarse, medium and fine sediment) showed that the macrofauna was an important predictor in all sediment types, but had the largest impact in fine and medium sediments. The results imply that even if the ecosystem functioning is similar in different sediment types, the underpinning mechanisms are different, which makes it challenging to generalize patterns of functioning across the heterogeneous shallow coastal zones.
  • Riutta, Terhi; Clack, Henry; Crockatt, Martha; Slade, Eleanor M. (2016)
    Although studies on edge effects on species richness and abundance are numerous, the responses of ecosystem processes to these effects have received considerably less attention. How ecosystem processes respond to edge effects is particularly important in temperate forests, where small fragments and edge habitats form a considerable proportion of the total forest area. Soil fauna are key contributors to decomposition and soil biogeochemical cycling processes. Using the bait lamina technique, we quantified soil fauna feeding activity, and its dependence on soil moisture and distance to the edge in a broad-leaved forest in Southern England. Feeding activity was 40% lower at the forest edge than in the interior, and the depth of edge influence was approximately 75 m. A watering treatment showed that moisture limitation was the main driver of the reduced feeding activity at the edge. In England, only 33% of the forest area is greater than 75 m from the edge. Therefore, assuming that the results from this single-site study are representative for the landscape, it implies that only one- third of the forest area in England supports activity levels typical for the forest core, and that edge effects reduce the mean feeding activity across the landscape by 17% (with lower and upper 90% confidence intervals of 1.3 and 23%, respectively). Changing climatic conditions, such as summer droughts may exacerbate such effects as edges lose water faster than the forest interior. The results highlight the importance of taking edge effects into account in ecological studies and forest management planning in highly fragmented landscapes.