Improved water retention links high species richness with increased productivity in arctic tundra moss communities

Oecologia
Christian Rixen, C P Mulder

Abstract

A positive relationship between plant species richness and ecosystem functioning has been found in a number of experimental studies. Positive species interactions at high species numbers have been suggested as a cause, but mechanisms driving positive interactions have not often been tested. In this experiment we asked three questions: (1) What is the relationship between species richness and productivity in experimentally constructed moss communities? (2) Is this relationship affected by plant density? and (3) Can changes in moisture absorption and retention explain observed relationships? To answer these questions we exposed arctic tundra moss communities of different species richness levels (1-11 species) and two different densities in the greenhouse to two levels of drought (short and long). Biomass (by the community and individual species), height and community moisture absorption and retention were measured as response variables. High species diversity increased productivity (more so in low-density plots than in high-density plots), but only when plots were watered regularly. Plot moisture retention was improved at high species richness as well, and plant height and variation in height was increased compared to plants in m...Continue Reading

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Citations

Aug 30, 2008·Ecology·Sofie SjögerstenSarah J Woodin
Jan 4, 2008·The American Naturalist·Alexandra Goudard, Michel Loreau
Jul 16, 2010·Journal of Theoretical Biology·Elise FilotasPer Arne Rikvold
Feb 9, 2012·Ecology Letters·Sonia KéfiUlrich Brose
Aug 29, 2012·The New Phytologist·M R TuretskyE-S Tuittila
May 12, 2012·Journal of Environmental Management·Susan C Cook-Patton, Taryn L Bauerle
Feb 13, 2018·Ecology and Evolution·John PatykowskiMaria Gibson
Jun 6, 2018·Ecology Letters·Jan M BaertFrederik De Laender
May 18, 2017·Global Change Biology·Dheeraj KanaparthiRalf Conrad

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