Multiple elements of soil biodiversity drive ecosystem functions across biomes

Nature Ecology and Evolution
By: , and 

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Abstract

The role of soil biodiversity in regulating multiple ecosystem functions is poorly understood, limiting our ability to predict how soil biodiversity loss might affect human wellbeing and ecosystem sustainability. Here, combining a global observational study with an experimental microcosm study, we provide evidence that soil biodiversity (bacteria, fungi, protists and invertebrates) is significantly and positively associated with multiple ecosystem functions. These functions include nutrient cycling, decomposition, plant production, and reduced potential for pathogenicity and belowground biological warfare. Our findings also reveal the context dependency of such relationships and the importance of the connectedness, biodiversity and nature of the globally distributed dominant phylotypes within the soil network in maintaining multiple functions. Moreover, our results suggest that the positive association between plant diversity and multifunctionality across biomes is indirectly driven by soil biodiversity. Together, our results provide insights into the importance of soil biodiversity for maintaining soil functionality locally and across biomes, as well as providing strong support for the inclusion of soil biodiversity in conservation and management programmes.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Multiple elements of soil biodiversity drive ecosystem functions across biomes
Series title Nature Ecology and Evolution
DOI 10.1038/s41559-019-1084-y
Volume 4
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 210
Last page 220
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