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Reciprocal inhibition and competitive hierarchy cause negative biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships
  • +3
  • Rafael D'Andrea,
  • Gabriel Khattar,
  • Thomas Koffel,
  • Veronica Frans,
  • Leonora Bittleston,
  • Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler
Rafael D'Andrea
Stony Brook University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Gabriel Khattar
Concordia University
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Thomas Koffel
Universite de Lyon
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Veronica Frans
Michigan State University
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Leonora Bittleston
Boise State University
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Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler
Cal Poly Humboldt
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The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF) captivates ecologists, but the factors responsible for the direction of this relationship remain unclear. While higher ecosystem functioning at higher biodiversity levels (‘positive BEF’) is not universal in nature, negative BEF relationships seem puzzlingly rare. Here, we develop a dynamical consumer-resource model inspired by microbial decomposer communities in pitcher plant leaves to investigate BEF. We manipulate microbial diversity via controlled colonization and measure their function as total ammonia production. We test how niche partitioning among bacteria and other ecological processes influence BEF in the leaves. We find that a negative BEF can emerge from reciprocal interspecific inhibition in ammonia production causing a negative complementarity effect, or from competitive hierarchies causing a negative selection effect. Absent these factors, a positive BEF was the typical outcome. Our findings provide a potential explanation for the rarity of negative BEF in empirical data.
12 Sep 2023Submitted to Ecology Letters
14 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
14 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
14 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Nov 20231st Revision Received
02 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
03 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
03 Nov 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned