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Plant community impact on productivity: the interplay of community-level functional attributes, species, and environmental selection
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  • Philipp Brun,
  • Cyrille Violle,
  • David Mouillot,
  • Nicolas Mouquet,
  • Brian Enquist,
  • François Munoz,
  • Tamara Munkemuller,
  • Annette Ostling,
  • Niklaus Zimmermann,
  • Wilfried Thuiller
Philipp Brun
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research
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Cyrille Violle
CNRS
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David Mouillot
Université Montpellier-CNRS-IFREMER
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Nicolas Mouquet
CNRS
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Brian Enquist
University of Arizona
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François Munoz
Université Grenoble Alpes
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Tamara Munkemuller
Univ. Grenoble Alpes
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Annette Ostling
University of Michigan
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Niklaus Zimmermann
Swiss Federal Resarch Institute WSL
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Wilfried Thuiller
Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine
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Abstract

While the impact of biodiversity, notably functional diversity, on ecosystem productivity has been extensively studied, little is known about the effect of individual species. Here, we identified species of high importance for productivity (key species) in over 28,000 diverse grassland communities in the European Alps, and compared their effects with those of community-level measures of functional composition (weighted means, variances, skewness, and kurtosis). After accounting for the environment, the five most important key species jointly explained more deviance than all statistics of functional composition. Key species were generally tall with high specific leaf areas. By dividing the observations according to distinct habitats, the explanatory power of all non-environmental predictors increased considerably, and the relationships between functional composition and productivity varied systematically, presumably because of changing interactions and trade-offs between traits. Our results advocate for a better consideration of species’ individual effects on ecosystem functioning in complement to community-level measures.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

28 Jun 2021Submitted to Ecology Letters
30 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
30 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
05 Jul 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
17 Sep 20211st Revision Received
17 Sep 2021Submission Checks Completed
17 Sep 2021Assigned to Editor
17 Sep 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned