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Plant species richness and functional groups have different effects on soil water content in a decade‐long grassland experiment

Published on Jan 1, 2019in Journal of Ecology 5.69
· DOI :10.1111/1365-2745.13046
Christine Fischer8
Estimated H-index: 8
(FSU: University of Jena),
Sophia Leimer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
+ 13 AuthorsAnke Hildebrandt17
Estimated H-index: 17
(FSU: University of Jena)
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Abstract
The temporal and spatial dynamics of soil water are closely interlinked with terrestrial ecosystems functioning. The interaction between plant community properties such as species composition and richness and soil water mirrors fundamental ecological processes determining above-ground–below-ground feedbacks. Plant–water relations and water stress have attracted considerable attention in biodiversity experiments. Yet, although soil scientific research suggests an influence of ecosystem productivity on soil hydraulic properties, temporal changes of the soil water content and soil hydraulic properties remain largely understudied in biodiversity experiments. Thus, insights on how plant diversity—productivity relationships affect soil water are lacking. Here, we determine which factors related to plant community composition (species and functional group richness, presence of plant functional groups) and soil (organic carbon concentration) affect soil water in a long-term grassland biodiversity experiment (The Jena Experiment). Both plant species richness and the presence of particular functional groups affected soil water content, while functional group richness played no role. The effect of species richness changed from positive to negative and expanded to deeper soil with time. Shortly after establishment, increased topsoil water content was related to higher leaf area index in species-rich plots, which enhanced shading. In later years, higher species richness increased topsoil organic carbon, likely improving soil aggregation. Improved aggregation, in turn, dried topsoils in species-rich plots due to faster drainage of rainwater. Functional groups affected soil water distribution, likely due to plant traits affecting root water uptake depths, shading, or water-use efficiency. For instance, topsoils in plots containing grasses were generally drier, while plots with legumes were moister. Synthesis. Our decade-long experiment reveals that the maturation of grasslands changes the effects of plant richness from influencing soil water content through shading effects to altering soil physical characteristics in addition to modification of water uptake depth. Functional groups affected the soil water distribution by characteristic shifts of root water uptake depth, but did not enhance exploitation of the overall soil water storage. Our results reconcile previous seemingly contradictory results on the relation between grassland species diversity and soil moisture and highlight the role of vegetation composition for soil processes.
  • References (72)
  • Citations (2)
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References72
Newest
Published on Jun 1, 2018in Ecohydrology 2.56
Sophia Leimer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology),
Sebastian Bischoff7
Estimated H-index: 7
(FSU: University of Jena)
+ 17 AuthorsValentin H. Klaus15
Estimated H-index: 15
Evidence from experimental grasslands indicated that plant biodiversity modifies the water cycle but it is unclear if this is also true for established land-use systems. Therefore, we investigated how evapotranspiration (ETa), downward flux (DF), and upward flux (UF) in soil are related with land use and plant diversity in agriculturally managed grassland. In three Central European regions (“Biodiversity Exploratories”), we studied 29 grassland plots (50m x 50m; 9-11 plots per region) covering t...
Published on Jan 1, 2018in Functional Ecology 5.04
Marcus Guderle5
Estimated H-index: 5
(TUM: Technische Universität München),
Dörte Bachmann5
Estimated H-index: 5
(ETH Zurich)
+ 12 AuthorsSébastien Devidal5
Estimated H-index: 5
(CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)
Summary 1.Efficient extraction of soil water is essential for the productivity of plant communities. However, research on the complementary use of resources in mixed plant communities, and especially the impact of plant species richness on root water uptake, is limited. So far, these investigations have been hindered by a lack of methods allowing for the estimation of root water uptake profiles. 2.The overarching aim of our study was to determine whether diverse grassland plant communities in ge...
Published on Oct 30, 2017in Hydrological Processes 3.19
Johanna Clara Metzger2
Estimated H-index: 2
(MPG: Max Planck Society),
Thomas Wutzler13
Estimated H-index: 13
(MPG: Max Planck Society)
+ 10 AuthorsKirsten Küsel6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Schiller International University)
Published on Sep 1, 2017in Basic and Applied Ecology 2.47
Wolfgang W. Weisser58
Estimated H-index: 58
(TUM: Technische Universität München),
Christiane Roscher41
Estimated H-index: 41
(Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ)
+ 37 AuthorsFrançois Buscot48
Estimated H-index: 48
(Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ)
Abstract In the past two decades, a large number of studies have investigated the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, most of which focussed on a limited set of ecosystem variables. The Jena Experiment was set up in 2002 to investigate the effects of plant diversity on element cycling and trophic interactions, using a multi-disciplinary approach. Here, we review the results of 15 years of research in the Jena Experiment, focussing on the effects of manipulating plant spe...
Published on Sep 1, 2017in Functional Ecology 5.04
Florian Fort8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Montpellier),
Florence Volaire24
Estimated H-index: 24
(University of Montpellier)
+ 3 AuthorsCatherine Roumet32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Montpellier)
1. Understanding the water-use of plants is timely under increasing drought stress due to climate change. Despite the crucial role of roots in water uptake, relationships between water-use and root traits are seldom considered. 2. Combining a functional trait-based approach with a water balance model, we tested whether root functional traits are related to spatial and temporal water-use among 12 Mediterranean rangeland species grown in common garden monocultures. Soil water content was monitored...
Published on Jan 1, 2017in Journal of Ecology 5.69
Hongmei Chen3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Leipzig University),
Liesje Mommer33
Estimated H-index: 33
(WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)
+ 7 AuthorsAlexandra Weigelt38
Estimated H-index: 38
(Leipzig University)
Summary Plant diversity enhances many ecosystem functions, including root biomass production, which drives soil carbon input. Although root decomposition accounts for a large proportion of carbon input for soil, little is known about plant diversity effect on this process. Plant diversity may affect root decomposition in two non-exclusive ways: by providing roots of different substrate quality (e.g. root chemistry) and/or by altering the soil environment (e.g. microclimate). To disentangle these...
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Oikos 3.47
Tanja Strecker8
Estimated H-index: 8
(GAU: University of Göttingen),
Odette González Macé4
Estimated H-index: 4
(GAU: University of Göttingen)
+ 1 AuthorsNico Eisenhauer42
Estimated H-index: 42
(Leipzig University)
Published on Oct 15, 2016in Journal of Plant Ecology-uk 2.28
Lisette M. Bakker1
Estimated H-index: 1
(WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre),
Liesje Mommer33
Estimated H-index: 33
(WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre),
Jasper van Ruijven31
Estimated H-index: 31
(WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)
Aims The positive relationship between plant biodiversity and community productivity is well established. However, our knowledge about the mechanisms underlying these positive biodiversity effects is still limited. One of the main hypotheses is that complementarity in resource uptake is responsible for the positive biodiversity effects: plant species differ in resource uptake strategy, which results in a more complete exploitation of the available resources in space and time when plant species a...
Published on Sep 1, 2016in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 3.95
Karim Barkaoui4
Estimated H-index: 4
,
Catherine Roumet32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Montpellier),
Florence Volaire24
Estimated H-index: 24
(University of Montpellier)
Abstract Grasslands provide numerous ecosystem services but their sustainability is threatened by climate change. As plant functional diversity is expected to stabilize ecosystem functions, we tested whether mixing species with contrasting root systems could improve the resilience of Mediterranean grasslands under increasing aridity. We hypothesized that root functional identity (RFI) and diversity (RFD) respectively determines and improves soil water uptake capacity, aboveground biomass (AGB) p...
Published on Sep 1, 2016in Ecology Letters 8.70
Iain Gould1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Lancaster University),
John N. Quinton38
Estimated H-index: 38
(Lancaster University)
+ 2 AuthorsRichard D. Bardgett90
Estimated H-index: 90
(University of Manchester)
Plant diversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning, including important effects on soil. Most studies that have explored plant diversity effects belowground, however, have largely focused on biological processes. As such, our understanding of how plant diversity impacts the soil physical environment remains limited, despite the fundamental role soil physical structure plays in ensuring soil function and ecosystem service provision. Here, in both a glasshouse and a long-term field study, we show ...
Cited By2
Newest
Published in Oecologia 2.92
Francisco M. Padilla20
Estimated H-index: 20
,
Liesje Mommer33
Estimated H-index: 33
+ -3 AuthorsHans de Kroon45
Estimated H-index: 45
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Journal of Arid Environments 1.82
Yu Yoshihara (Mie University), Yuki Tatsuno (Mie University)+ 1 AuthorsTakehiro Sasaki16
Estimated H-index: 16
(Yokohama National University)
Abstract Previous studies reported the positive diversity-productivity relationship could be explained by combinations of species with different rooting distributions and greater legume abundance. However, because plant production is limited by soil water availability in arid areas, we study the positive diversity-productivity relationship of Mongolian semi-arid grasslands and the complementary use of water in these diverse plant communities. Plant species richness influences productivity throug...
Published on Apr 12, 2019in Journal of Ecology 5.69
Mayra Melendez Gonzalez (UTEP: University of Texas at El Paso), Anna L. Crofts (UBC: University of British Columbia), Jennie R. McLaren13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UTEP: University of Texas at El Paso)
Published on Feb 1, 2019in Soil Biology & Biochemistry 5.29
Benjamin A. Musa Bandowe18
Estimated H-index: 18
(KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology),
Sophia Leimer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
+ 6 AuthorsWolfgang Wilcke47
Estimated H-index: 47
(KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Abstract Increasing plant species richness stimulates microbial activity in soil, which might favor biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). To explore the relationship between plant community composition and PACs in grassland soils (Fluvisols exposed to an urban atmosphere), we determined the concentrations of 29 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 15 oxygenated PAHs (OPAHs) in topsoils of 80 plots of a grassland biodiversity experiment. The plots included different level...