Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning depends on complex biotic and abiotic interactions

Submitted by editor on 15 August 2017.Get the paper!

Plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning usually have been studied from a plant perspective. However, the impacts of plant interactions with other organisms on biodiversity effects across different environmental conditions are frequently overlooked. Thus, we tested the extent to which plant richness effects on plant primary productivity varied due to the presence of a belowground herbivore (Melolontha melolontha) and a detritivore (Lumbricus terrestris) under normal water and drought conditions using a microcosm experiment. We found that biotic and abiotic conditions influence a range of mechanisms associated with biodiversity effects on primary productivity. Therefore, our findings emphasize the importance of complex biotic interactions, e.g. plant-herbivore and plant-detritivore, to understand biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. Our results also suggested that contrasting environmental conditions may alter trophic and non-trophic interactions.

Melolontha melolontha (herbivore) visiting the aboveground world, when eating roots is not enough.


Microcosm experiment. Plastic barriers were used to prevent earthworms escape.

The authors through: Nathaly Guerrero Ramirez

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