Hintergrundbild mit Feldern

sp2 Above and Belowground Plant Complementarity

Increasing plant diversity enhances many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The increased performance of communities with higher diversity is thought to originate from two distinct classes of mechanisms: (1) complementarity effects and (2) sampling effects, but current knowledge suggests that complementarity is the dominating force driving biodiversity ecosystem function (BEF) relationships. The detection and quantification of complementarity is challenging, especially belowground. Direct, mechanistic approaches rely on the use of isotopically labelled compounds to measure nutrient uptake or on measurements of space exploitation above- or belowground. Indirect, correlative approaches attempt to link plant traits as proxies of niche definition to plant performance or compare species performance in monoculture and mixtures. So far, these approaches have mainly been used in isolation and yielded mixed results. Here, we argue that a synthesis and comparison of these approaches is urgently needed to answer a longstanding, but still unanswered question in ecology: what is the relative importance of complementary use of different resources for the BEF relationship?

We aim to integrate the existing evidence from direct and indirect approaches and explore, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of resource complementarity in plants of grassland ecosystems.

Principal Investigator:

PD Dr. Alexandra Weigelt
University of Leipzig
Email / Web
Tel.: +49.341.973.8594

Prof. Dr. Lieslje Mommer
Wageningen University
Email / Web
Tel.: ++31.317.48.6944


Dr. Kathryn Barry
University of Leipzig
Email/ Web