U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

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Links Between Ecosystem Multifunctionality and Above- and Belowground Biodiversity Mediated by Climate
Published: September 02, 2015
Posted: November 25, 2015

Plant biodiversity is often correlated with ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about the relative and combined effects of above- and belowground biodiversity on multiple ecosystem functions [e.g., ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF)] or how climate might mediate those relationships. A recent study teases apart the effects of biotic and abiotic factors, both above- and belowground, on EMF on the Tibetan Plateau in China. The researchers found that a suite of biotic and abiotic variables account for up to 86% of the EMF variation, with the combined effects of above- and belowground biodiversity accounting for 45% of the EMF variation. These results have two important implications: (1) including belowground biodiversity in models can improve the ability to explain and predict EMF, and (2) regional-scale variation in climate, and perhaps climate change, can determine, or at least modify, the effects of biodiversity on EMF in natural ecosystems.

Reference: Jing, X., N. J. Sanders, Y. Shi, H. Chu, A. T. Classen, K. Zhao, L. Chen, Y. Shi, Y. Jiang, and J.-S. He. 2015. “The Links Between Ecosystem Multifunctionality and Above- and Belowground Biodiversity are Mediated by Climate,” Nature Communications 6(8159), DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9159. (Reference link)


Contact: Jared DeForest, SC-23, (301) 903-3251, Daniel Stover, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0289
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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