The influence of balanced and imbalanced resource supply on biodiversity-functioning relationship across ecosystems

Aleksandra M. Lewandowska, Antje Biermann, Elizabeth T. Borer, Miguel A. Cebrián-Piqueras, Steven A.J. Declerck, Luc De Meester, Ellen Van Donk, Lars Gamfeldt, Daniel S. Gruner, Nicole Hagenah, W. Stanley Harpole, Kevin P. Kirkman, Christopher A. Klausmeier, Michael Kleyer, Johannes M.H. Knops, Pieter Lemmens, Eric M. Lind, Elena Litchman, Jasmin Mantilla-Contreras, Koen MartensSandra Meier, Vanessa Minden, Joslin L. Moore, Harry Olde Venterink, Eric W. Seabloom, Ulrich Sommer, Maren Striebel, Anastasia Trenkamp, Juliane Trinogga, Jotaro Urabe, Wim Vyverman, Dedmer B. Van de Waal, Claire E. Widdicombe, Helmut Hillebrand

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Numerous studies show that increasing species richness leads to higher ecosystem productivity. This effect is often attributed to more efficient portioning of multiple resources in communities with higher numbers of competing species, indicating the role of resource supply and stoichiometry for biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Here, we merged theory on ecological stoichiometry with a framework of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning to understand how resource use transfers into primary production. We applied a structural equation model to define patterns of diversity-productivity relationships with respect to available resources. Meta-analysis was used to summarize the findings across ecosystem types ranging from aquatic ecosystems to grasslands and forests. As hypothesized, resource supply increased realized productivity and richness, but we found significant differences between ecosystems and study types. Increased richness was associated with increased productivity, although this effect was not seen in experiments. More even communities had lower productivity, indicating that biomass production is often maintained by a few dominant species, and reduced dominance generally reduced ecosystem productivity. This synthesis, which integrates observational and experimental studies in a variety of ecosystems and geographical regions, exposes common patterns and differences in biodiversity-functioning relationships, and increases the mechanistic understanding of changes in ecosystems productivity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20150283
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Issue number1694
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 19


    • Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning
    • Evenness
    • Nutrient network
    • Productivity
    • Richness
    • Stoichiometry

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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    Lewandowska, A. M., Biermann, A., Borer, E. T., Cebrián-Piqueras, M. A., Declerck, S. A. J., De Meester, L., Van Donk, E., Gamfeldt, L., Gruner, D. S., Hagenah, N., Harpole, W. S., Kirkman, K. P., Klausmeier, C. A., Kleyer, M., Knops, J. M. H., Lemmens, P., Lind, E. M., Litchman, E., Mantilla-Contreras, J., ... Hillebrand, H. (2016). The influence of balanced and imbalanced resource supply on biodiversity-functioning relationship across ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1694), [20150283].