Climate warming promotes species diversity, but with greater taxonomic redundancy, in complex environments

Madhav P. Thakur, David Tilman, Oliver Purschke, Marcel Ciobanu, Jane Cowles, Forest Isbell, Peter D. Wragg, Nico Eisenhauer

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47 Scopus citations


Climate warming is predicted to alter species interactions, which could potentially lead to extinction events. However, there is an ongoing debatewhether the effects ofwarming on biodiversitymay bemoderated by biodiversity itself.We tested warming effects on soil nematodes, one of themost diverse and abundantmetazoans in terrestrial ecosystems, along a gradient of environmental complexity created by a gradient of plant species richness. Warming increased nematode species diversity in complex (16-species mixtures) plant communities (by ∼36%) but decreased it in simple (monocultures) plant communities (by ∼39%) compared to ambient temperature. Further, warming led to higher levels of taxonomic relatedness in nematode communities across all levels of plant species richness. Our results highlight both the need for maintaining species-rich plant communities to help offset detrimental warming effects and the inability of species-rich plant communities to maintain nematode taxonomic distinctness when warming occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1700866
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.P.T. and N.E. acknowledge the funding from German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Ei 862/2). Further support came from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the German Research Foundation (FZT 118). N.E. also acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC starting grant 677232). D.T. acknowledges funding from the Long-Term Ecological Research program of the U.S. NSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved.


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