A mechanistic path to maximize biomass production while maintaining species diversity

Oscar Godoy, Lorena Gómez-Aparicio, Luis Matías, Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos, Eric Allan

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Oct 31, 2019
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Received Date: 20th October 19

With ongoing biodiversity loss, it is important to understand how the mechanisms promoting coexistence relate to those increasing functioning in diverse communities. Both coexistence and biodiversity functioning research have unified their mechanisms into two classes. However, despite seeming similarities, theory suggests that coexistence and biodiversity mechanisms do not map onto each other, yet direct empirical evidence for this prediction is lacking. We coupled field-parameterized models of competition between 10 plants with a biodiversity-multifunctioning experiment. We found that complementarity effects were positively correlated with niche differences and differences in selection effects were correlated with fitness differences. However, niche differences contributed also to selection effects and fitness differences to complementarity effects. Despite this complexity more stably coexisting communities produced more biomass but did not show faster decomposition rates or changes in soil nutrients. We provide the first empirical evidence that the mechanisms promoting stable coexistence correlate with those driving high biomass production.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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