Think ratio! A stoichiometric view on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research

Helmut Hillebrand, Jane M. Cowles, Aleksandra Lewandowska, Dedmer B. Van de Waal, Christoph Plum

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Ecological stoichiometry (ES) has become one of the most pervasive theoretical frameworks in environmental sciences and biology in the last two decades. ES allows predicting processes on all organizational levels from subcellular structures to ecosystems by relating the elemental composition and demand of organisms to the relative availability of resources. However, ES has been rarely used to understand and predict the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF), although ES would be ideally suited as it makes predictions on both population processes underlying biodiversity as well as on matter transformations underlying ecosystem processes. Here, we propose to link the two fields of research on ES and BEF relationships and highlight a number of potential avenues for further research. First, we cast a stoichiometric view on drivers of biodiversity change. Second, we address the stoichiometric underpinning of biodiversity-productivity relationships. Third, we discuss potential interactions between stoichiometry and diversity in a food web context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-474
Number of pages10
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been triggered by Teja Tscharntke through an invitation for this article and substantiated by the Jena Experiment research group (DFG FOR, DFG Hi848/11-2). CP has been funded by DFG ( Hi 848/7-1 ). The final manuscript is a joint effort of the working group sTOICHFUN and an outcome of a workshop supported by sDiv, the Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences – a unit of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the German Research Foundation ( FZT 118 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014.


  • Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity
  • Coexistence
  • Ecological stoichiometry
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Eutrophication
  • Productivity


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