Diversity-dependent plant–soil feedbacks underlie long-term plant diversity effects on primary productivity

Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez, Peter B. Reich, Cameron Wagg, Marcel Ciobanu, Nico Eisenhauer

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although diversity-dependent plant–soil feedbacks (PSFs) may contribute significantly to plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning, the influences of underlying abiotic and biotic mechanistic pathways have been little explored to date. Here, we assessed such pathways with a PSF experiment using soil conditioned for ≥12 yr from two grassland biodiversity experiments. Model plant communities differing in plant species and functional group richness (current plant diversity treatment) were grown in soils conditioned by plant communities with either low- or high-diversity (soil history treatment). Our results indicate that plant diversity can modify plant productivity through both diversity-mediated plant–plant and plant–soil interactions, with the main driver (current plant diversity or soil history) differing with experimental context. Structural equation modeling suggests that the underlying mechanisms of PSFs were explained to a significant extent by both abiotic and biotic pathways (specifically, soil nitrogen availability and soil nematode richness). Thus, effects of plant diversity loss on plant productivity may persist or even increase over time because of biotic and abiotic soil legacy effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02704
JournalEcosphere
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We specially thank Alfred Lochner for his support during all the experimental phase and Petra Hoffmann for her support during the chemical analyses. We thank Kally Worm, Anne Ebeling, Simone Cesarz, Silke Schroeckh, Katja Steinauer, and the gardeners and coordinators of both biodiversity experiments. We thank Dylan Craven for providing comments on a previous version of this manuscript. We thank Andrew Barnes and Jon Lefcheck for their input on the structural equation models. This work was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) in the frame of the Emmy Noether research group (Ei 862/2) to Nico Eisenahuer and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the DFG (FZT 118). The Jena Experiment is financed by the DFG (FOR 1451). Support for the BioCON Experiment came from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (DEB-9411972, DEB-0080382, DEB-0620652, and DEB-1234162), Biocomplexity Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles (DEB-0322057), Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (DEB-0716587, DEB-1242531), and Ecosystem Sciences (NSF DEB-1120064) Programs; as well as the U.S. Department of Energy Programs for Ecosystem Research (vDE-FG02-96ER62291) and National Institute for Climatic Change Research (DE-FC02-06ER64158). Nico Eisenhauer and Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez developed the idea, Peter B. Reich contributed with the first experimental phase, Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez implemented the study and collected data with the help of Marcel Ciobanu and Cameron Wagg. Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez analyzed the data and wrote the paper with substantial input from all authors.

Funding Information:
We specially thank Alfred Lochner for his support during all the experimental phase and Petra Hoffmann for her support during the chemical analyses. We thank Kally Worm, Anne Ebeling, Simone Cesarz, Silke Schroeckh, Katja Steinauer, and the gardeners and coordinators of both biodiversity experiments. We thank Dylan Craven for providing comments on a previous version of this manuscript. We thank Andrew Barnes and Jon Lefcheck for their input on the structural equation models. This work was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) in the frame of the Emmy Noether research group (Ei 862/2) to Nico Eise-nahuer and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the DFG (FZT 118). The Jena Experiment is financed by the DFG (FOR 1451). Support for the BioCON Experiment came from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (DEB-9411972, DEB-0080382, DEB-0620652, and DEB-1234162), Biocomplexity Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles (DEB-0322057), Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (DEB-0716587, DEB-1242531), and Ecosystem Sciences (NSF DEB-1120064) Programs; as well as the U.S. Department of Energy Programs for Ecosystem Research (vDE-FG02-96ER62291) and National Institute for Climatic Change Research (DE-FC02-06ER64158). Nico Eisenhauer and Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez developed the idea, Peter B. Reich contributed with the first experimental phase, Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez implemented the study and collected data with the help of Marcel Ciobanu and Cameron Wagg. Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez analyzed the data and wrote the paper with substantial input from all authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.

Keywords

  • biodiversity–ecosystem function relationship
  • grasslands
  • mechanisms
  • plant functional identity
  • plant–soil community feedbacks
  • plant–soil interactions
  • soil legacy effects
  • soil nematode communities
  • soil resources
  • temporal changes

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