Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Biodiversity may enhance productivity either because diverse communities more often contain productive species (selection effects) or because they show greater complementarity in resource use. Our understanding of how these effects influence community production comes almost entirely from studies of plants. To test whether previous results apply to higher trophic levels, we first used simulations to derive expected contributions of selection and complementarity to production in competitive assemblages defined by either neutral interactions, dominance, or a trade-off between growth and competitive ability. The three types of simulated assemblages exhibited distinct interaction signatures when diversity effects were partitioned into selection and complementarity components. We then compared these signatures to those of experimental marine communities. Diversity influenced production in fundamentally different ways in assemblages of macroalgae, characterized by growth competition trade-offs, vs. in herbivores, characterized by dominance. Forecasting the effects of changing biodiversity in multitrophic ecosystems will require recognizing that the mechanism by which diversity in. fluences functioning can vary among trophic levels in the same food web.
biodiversity; complementarity effect; ecosystem functioning; food web; selection effect
Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
Long, ZT; Bruno, JF; and Duffy, JE, Biodiversity mediates productivity through different mechanisms at adjacent trophic levels (2007). Ecology, 88(11), 2821-2829.