Relationships between biodiversity and multiple ecosystem functions (that is, ecosystem multifunctionality) are context-dependent. Both plant and soil microbial diversity have been reported to regulate ecosystem multifunctionality, but how their relative importance varies along environmental gradients remains poorly understood. Here, we relate plant and microbial diversity to soil multifunctionality across 130 dryland sites along a 4,000 km aridity gradient in northern China. Our results show a strong positive association between plant species richness and soil multifunctionality in less arid regions, whereas microbial diversity, in particular of fungi, is positively associated with multifunctionality in more arid regions. This shift in the relationships between plant or microbial diversity and soil multifunctionality occur at an aridity level of ∼0.8, the boundary between semiarid and arid climates, which is predicted to advance geographically ∼28% by the end of the current century. Our study highlights that biodiversity loss of plants and soil microorganisms may have especially strong consequences under low and high aridity conditions, respectively, which calls for climate-specific biodiversity conservation strategies to mitigate the effects of aridification.
W. Hu et al., "Aridity-Driven Shift In Biodiversity-Soil Multifunctionality Relationships," Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, article no. 5350, Nature Research, Sep 2021.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25641-0
Keywords and Phrases
Biodiversity; Climate-change ecology; Microbial ecology; Molecular ecology; Plant ecology
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Article - Journal
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09 Sep 2021