Community evolution in experimental grassland communities
In this PhD chapter, we tested effects of community evolution on primary productivity in 48 different plant communities of 1, 2, 4 or 8 grassland species growin within the Jena Experiment. We found that productivity was increased if communities were assembled from plants that had previously been growing together for 8 years compared with communities assembled from plants without a common history. The observed positive effect of community evolution on productivity was independent of the presence of co-selected soil organisms but restricted to low diversity; mixtures of 8 species were not affected. We conclude that to preserve well-functioning ecosystems we need to protect interacting species in a community context.This research has recently been published in Ecology Letters.
In a second paper we tested wtheter community evolution also increased stability and resilience in these same communities in the Jena Experiment. We therefore assessed stability during unperturbed period and also resistance, resilience and recovery in response to a natural flooding event. This manuscript is in preparation and will be submitted soon.