Biodiversity increases multitrophic energy use efficiency, flow and storage in grasslands

Oksana Y. Buzhdygan (Corresponding author), Sebastian T. Meyer (Corresponding author), Wolfgang W. Weisser, Nico Eisenhauer, Anne Ebeling, Stuart R. Borrett, Nina Buchmann, Roeland Cortois, Gerlinde B. De Deyn, Hans de Kroon, Gerd Gleixner, Lionel R. Hertzog, Jes Hines, Markus Lange, Liesje Mommer, Janneke Ravenek, Christoph Scherber, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Stefan Scheu, Bernhard SchmidKatja Steinauer, Tanja Strecker, Britta Tietjen, Anja Vogel, Alexandra Weigelt, Jana S. Petermann

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The continuing loss of global biodiversity has raised questions about the risk that species extinctions pose for the functioning of natural ecosystems and the services that they provide for human wellbeing. There is consensus that, on single trophic levels, biodiversity sustains functions; however, to understand the full range of biodiversity effects, a holistic and multitrophic perspective is needed. Here, we apply methods from ecosystem ecology that quantify the structure and dynamics of the trophic network using ecosystem energetics to data from a large grassland biodiversity experiment. We show that higher plant diversity leads to more energy stored, greater energy flow and higher community-energy-use efficiency across the entire trophic network. These effects of biodiversity on energy dynamics were not restricted to only plants but were also expressed by other trophic groups and, to a similar degree, in aboveground and belowground parts of the ecosystem, even though plants are by far the dominating group in the system. The positive effects of biodiversity on one trophic level were not counteracted by the negative effects on adjacent levels. Trophic levels jointly increased the performance of the community, indicating ecosystem-wide multitrophic complementarity, which is potentially an important prerequisite for the provisioning of ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-405
Number of pages13
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • international
  • Plan_S-Compliant_NO

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