A new study shows that, in addition to species richness, plant evolutionary history plays a critical role in regulating year-to-year variation of biomass production in grasslands. In the face of climate change, understanding the causes of variability in key ecosystem services such as biomass production is essential. A team of researchers led by Dr. Dylan Craven from the University of Göttingen has published the results in the new issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution. They show that multiple factors, including biodiversity and climate, jointly reduce annual variation in grassland productivity.
Biodiversity is much more than just counting species; it also includes diversity in how plants function and in the history of how they have evolved. Despite the growing appreciation for biodiversity and its role in buffering the impacts of vital ecosystem services, these other aspects of biodiversity are frequently overlooked.
An international team of researchers examined how multiple facets of biodiversity contribute to year-to-year variation in grassland biomass production. The researchers measured biomass, which is the dry weight of plant matter (including grassland and other species).
“We show that grassland communities with high species richness and high diversity in evolutionary history show reduced variation in biomass production,” said Dylan Craven, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen.
“Our results suggest that greater diversity in evolutionary history makes biomass production in grasslands more stable because these communities are less vulnerable to herbivore attacks or pathogen outbreaks.”
The researchers also found that biomass production of plant communities dominated by slow-growing species typically varied less. Peter Manning, the senior author of the study, said that “we were surprised by these results because we had expected that communities with a greater diversity in characteristics related to plant growth rates would have more stable biomass production but actually species richness as measured by evolutionary history and genetic diversity were better predictors.”
However, the researchers caution that lower year-to-year variation does not imply that grasslands will be more productive, and that measures of stability that consider over- and under-production may be more relevant for agroecological applications.
Dr. Dylan Craven
University of Göttingen – Department of Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography
Büsgenweg 1 – 37077 Göttingen
Craven, D. et al. Multiple facets of biodiversity drive the diversity-stability relationship. Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0647-7
Thomas Richter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Team of researchers in Vienna has decoded the structure of the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) of rabies virus
29.07.2019 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Giving a chip about masa
18.07.2019 | American Society of Agronomy
Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...
Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.
Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.
Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.
Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...
Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics
The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...
Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
16.08.2019 | Event News
14.08.2019 | Event News
12.08.2019 | Event News
23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering
23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.08.2019 | Life Sciences