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Community history, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

English title Community history, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Applicant Schmid Bernhard
Number 147092
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Umweltwissenschaften Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 31.03.2016
Approved amount 835'312.00
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Keywords (6)

Evolution; Plant ecology; Community assembly; Plant-soil feedbacks; Biodiversity; Ecosystem functioning

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Dieses Projekt beschäftigt sich mit dem Zusammenhang zwischen pflanzlicher Biodiversität und Ökosystemdienstleistungen. Dabei werden zwei grosse Projektplattformen verwendet, eine betrifft das "Jena Experiment" und die andere das "BEF-China" Experiment".
Lay summary

Im Jena Experiment haben wir unterschiedlich diverse Wiesenstücke mit unterschiedlichen Pflanzengenotypen auf unterschiedlichen Substraten angepflanzt. Wir wollen damit untersuchen, ob sich Pflanzenmischungen und Bodenorganismen im Verlaufe der Jahre aneinander anpassen und so bessere Ökosystemfunktionen erzeugen. Erste Ergebnisse beweisen, dass bereits nach 8 Jahren spezielle Monokulturgenotypen in Monokulturen überhand nehmen, während umgekehrt spezielle Mischungsgenotypen in Mischungen auftreten. Wir vermuten zudem, dass die Monokulturen über die Zeit eine Akkumulation von schädlichen Bodenorganismen begünstigen, welche ihrerseits die Evolution resistenterer Pflanzengenotypen fördern könnte.

Im BEF-China Projekt untersuchen wir, ob mit artenreichen Pflanzungen die Kohlenstoffspeicherung in Wäldern erhöht und die Bodenerosion verringert werden kann. Auf Vergleichsflächen unterschiedlichen Alters und unterschiedlicher Artenzahl von Bäumen konnten wir bereits nachweisen, dass eine höhere Artenvielfalt eine grössere Dichte und damit auch eine höhere Biomasse von Bäumen ermöglicht. Nun testen wir auf über 500 neu angelegten Waldstücken, ob dieser Zusammenhang auch experimentell nachgewiesen werden kann. Falls dies zutrifft, könnte in Zukunft durch diverse Pflanzungen bei Aufforstungen ein grosser Beitrag zur Kohlendioxidreduktion in der Atmosphäre und zur Erosionsvermeidung an Hängen geleistet werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.03.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Plant selection and soil legacy enhance long-term biodiversity effects
Zuppinger-Dingley D. FlynnD.F.B. De DeynG.B. Petermann J.S. Schmid B., Zuppinger-Dingley D. FlynnD.F.B. De DeynG.B. Petermann J.S. Schmid B. (2016), Plant selection and soil legacy enhance long-term biodiversity effects, in Ecology, 97(4), 918-928.
Plasticity of functional traits of forb species in response to biodiversity
LipowskyaA. Roscher C. Schumacher J. Michalskic S.G. Gubsche M., Buchmann N. Schulze E.-D. Schmid B., LipowskyaA. Roscher C. Schumacher J. Michalskic S.G. Gubsche M., Buchmann N. Schulze E.-D. Schmid B. (2015), Plasticity of functional traits of forb species in response to biodiversity, in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 17, 66-77.
Selection in monoculture vs. mixture alters plant metabolic fingerprints
Zuppinger-Dingley D. Flynn D.F.B. Brandl H. Schmid B., Zuppinger-Dingley D. Flynn D.F.B. Brandl H. Schmid B. (2015), Selection in monoculture vs. mixture alters plant metabolic fingerprints, in Journal of Plant Ecology, 8(5), 549-557.
Different Assembly Processes Drive Shifts in Species and Functional Composition in Experimental Grasslands Varying in Sown Diversity and Community History
Roscher C. Schumacher J. Gerighausen U. Schmid B., Roscher C. Schumacher J. Gerighausen U. Schmid B. (2014), Different Assembly Processes Drive Shifts in Species and Functional Composition in Experimental Grasslands Varying in Sown Diversity and Community History, in PLoS ONE, 9(7), 1-12.
Genotypic diversity of an invasive plant species promotes litter decomposition and associated processes
Wang X.-Y. Miao Y. Yu S. Chen X.-Y. Schmid B., Wang X.-Y. Miao Y. Yu S. Chen X.-Y. Schmid B. (2014), Genotypic diversity of an invasive plant species promotes litter decomposition and associated processes, in Oecologia, 174, 993-1005.
Selection for niche differentiation in plant communities increases biodiversity effects
Zuppinger-Dingley D. Schmid B. Petermann J.S. Yadav V. De DeynG.B. FlynnD.F.B., Zuppinger-Dingley D. Schmid B. Petermann J.S. Yadav V. De DeynG.B. FlynnD.F.B. (2014), Selection for niche differentiation in plant communities increases biodiversity effects, in Nature, 515, 108-111.
What happens to the sown species if a biodiversity experiment is not weeded?
Roscher C. Fergus A.J.F. Petermann J.S. Buchmann N. Schmid B. Schulze E.-D., Roscher C. Fergus A.J.F. Petermann J.S. Buchmann N. Schmid B. Schulze E.-D. (2013), What happens to the sown species if a biodiversity experiment is not weeded?, in Basic and Applied Ecology, 14, 187-198.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Pascal Niklaus - Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, UZH Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Jana Petermann, University of Salzburg Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Gerlinde De Deyn - Department of Soil Quality, Wageningen University Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Markus Fischer - Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Jin-Sheng He - Department of Ecology, Peking University China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Philippine Vergeer, Wageningen University Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
130720 Community history and ecosystem functioning 01.04.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
145612 Synthesis research of two integrated biodiversity projects 01.02.2013 Research semester
131193 Mechanisms underlying plant community productivity, stability and assembly (D-A-CH/LAE) 01.07.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
166457 Fundamental biological causes of changing plant diversity-productivity relationships 01.04.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

This project continues work in two large-scale experiments, a "Community History" experiment established within the long-running grassland biodiversity Jena Experiment in Germany, and the BEF-China forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China. Both of these have involved substantial start-up investments on which the proposed work can now capitalize. In Subproject A (Community History) I propose two novel tests of the mechanisms underlying plant and soil community history effects, which we have observed during the previous phase. For the plant community history work, I will use competition between plants grown from seeds collected before and after over a decade of history in particular biotic environments. For the soil community history work, I will test how plants have adapted to soil microbial pathogens and mutualists in these communities. In Subproject B (BEF-China) I will test whether phenotypic plasticity among tree species grown across a diversity gradient contributes to complementarity between species. This test is a counterpart to the grassland work, with the focus on how similar genotypes express a different range of traits depending on the biotic environment, rather than focusing on the selection of particular genotypes by the environment.The Community History experiment in Jena was set up during the previous phase of the current project and involved an intensive effort to sterilize 30 tons of soil, an unprecedented scale for plant-soil feedback experiments. Our results demonstrate that soil history plays a major role in determining the shape of the relationship between the diversity of plant species and the functioning of this ecosystem. Given the increasing recognition of the value of assessing long-term dynamics, it is crucial to continue the work by testing the mechanisms of how plant-soil feedbacks affect biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships beyond the initial establishment phase. In addition, the Community History experiment involved the collection of seed material from plants maintained in particular species compositions for 8 years in the field. Our initial results show that even this relatively short time period was sufficient to observe adaptation to the biotic environment. Such microevolutionary processes present novel explanations for how species integrate in communities, and we suspect that these processes will become increasingly important over time.The BEF-China project is the product of a long-term and ambitious collaboration between European and Chinese scientists since 2008, involving the planting of nearly half a million individual trees and shrubs. The opportunities provided by this research platform are numerous, in particular with the diversity gradient allowing for the genotypic identification and phenotype measurement of particular individuals over time, and the assessment of the consequences of such variation for community assembly and ecosystem functioning.Taken together, this project will contribute to a new understanding of how species interact in communities and the consequences of species loss. Our emphasis is on how community history acts to select for individuals adapted to a particular biotic environment, including above-belowground interactions (Subproject A) and how community history determines the degree of plasticity in the phenotypes of those species (Subproject B). These results will lead to better predictions of how ecosystems will respond to changes in species composition, particularly the loss of species diversity, under current and future environmental change.
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