Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

351 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Species diversity is a major determinant of ecosystem productivity stability invasibility, and nutrient dynamics. Hundreds of studies spanning terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems show that high-diversity mixtures are approximately twice as productive as monocultures of the same species and that this difference increases through time. These impacts of higher diversity have multiple causes, including interspecific complementarity, greater use of limiting resources, decreased herbivory and disease, and nutrient-cycling feedbacks that increase nutrient stores and supply rates over the long term. These experimentally observed effects of diversity are consistent with predictions based on a variety of theories that share a common feature: All have trade-off-based mechanisms that allow long-term coexistence of many different competing species. Diversity loss has an effect as great as, or greater than, the effects of herbivory, fire, drought, nitrogen addition, elevated CO2, and other drivers of environmental change. The preservation, conservation, and restoration of biodiversity should be a high global priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-493
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 23 2014

Fingerprint

herbivores
biodiversity
herbivory
nutrient reserves
ecosystems
ecosystem
biogeochemical cycles
invasibility
nutrient dynamics
drought
complementarity
monoculture
nutrient cycling
terrestrial ecosystem
marine ecosystem
species diversity
aquatic ecosystem
trade-off
coexistence
prediction

Bibliographical note

Times Cited: 0 Futuyma, DJ 0 978-0-8243-1445-3

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • coexistence
  • ecosystem functioning
  • invasibility complementarity
  • niche differentiation
  • productivity
  • stability

Cite this

Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. / Tilman, David; Isbell, Forest; Cowles, Jane M.

In: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Vol. 45, 23.11.2014, p. 471-493.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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