Sofia J.
van Moorsel


Community Evolution in a Grassland Biodiversity Experiment

Community Evolution in a Grassland Biodiversity Experiment

This short TV report nicely explains the importance of plant biodiversity research. Der Mix macht's – mehr Biomasse als bei Monokulturen

We tested effects of community evolution on primary productivity in 48 different plant communities of 1, 2, 4 or 8 grassland species growin within the Jena Experiment. We found that productivity was increased if communities were assembled from plants that had previously been growing together for 8 years compared with communities assembled from plants without a common history. The observed positive effect of community evolution on productivity was independent of the presence of co-selected soil organisms but restricted to low diversity; mixtures of 8 species were not affected. We conclude that to preserve well-functioning ecosystems we need to protect interacting species in a community context. This research was published in Ecology Letters.
Link to the publication

In a second paper, we wanted to find out whether community evolution (a history of co-occurrence) also increased stability and resilience in these same communities in the Jena Experiment. We therefore assessed stability during the unperturbed period and also resistance, resilience and recovery in response to a natural flooding event. We found that community evolution increased temporal stability of community funtioning (i.e. community biomass), in particular after the flood. Evolution also increased resilience and recovery, but not resistance. This research has been published in Ecology.

Link to the publication
Please email me if you would like a pdf of the published papers.

Plantago media in Jena