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Explaining ecosystem multifunction with evolutionary models [Ecology]

Keywords : biodiversity, community ecology, ecosystem function, evolutionary models, multifunctionality, phylogenetic diversity, plant ecology

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Ecosystem function is the outcome of species interactions, traits, and niche overlap –all of which are influenced by evolution. However, it is not well understood how the tempo and mode of niche evolution can influence ecosystem function. In evolutionary models where either species differences accumulate through random drift in a single trait or species differences accumulate through divergent selection among close relatives, we should expect that ecosystem function is strongly related to diversity. However, when strong selection causes species to converge on specific niches or when novel traits that directly affect function evolve in some clades but not others, the relationship between diversity and ecosystem function might not be very strong. We test these ideas using a field experiment that established plant mixtures with differing phylogenetic diversities and we measured ten different community functions.(...)

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