A unifying evolutionary theory for the biomass-diversity-fertility relationship

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A unifying evolutionary theory for the biomass-diversity-fertility relationship. / Warren, John; Topping, Chris J.; James, Penri.

In: Theoretical Ecology, Vol. 2, No. 2, 06.2009, p. 119-126.

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Warren, John ; Topping, Chris J. ; James, Penri. / A unifying evolutionary theory for the biomass-diversity-fertility relationship. In: Theoretical Ecology. 2009 ; Vol. 2, No. 2. pp. 119-126.

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@article{e86ad51927e0449c8d3f843af5854949,
title = "A unifying evolutionary theory for the biomass-diversity-fertility relationship",
abstract = "Although a widely accepted ecological theory predicts that more diverse plant communities should be better able to capture resources and turn carbon dioxide into biomass, the most productive communities known are low diversity agricultural ones. This paradox has fuelled a long running controversy in ecology surrounding the nature of the relationship between diversity, productivity and fertility. Here, an evolutionary computer model is used which demonstrates that given the opportunity, species-rich communities may evolve under high fertility conditions. In contrast to low diversity, highly productive agricultural communities are shown to probably be a recent phenomenon. In simulations where fertility was applied to communities that had evolved under lower nutrient conditions, a few species had the ability to become 'dominant'. These species were responsible for the loss of diversity and for the majority of biomass production. These results are consistent with complementarity theory applying in nature in old co-evolved low nutrient communities, whereas in recently established fertile agricultural communities, dominant species appear to regulate biomass production. Understanding the nature of these 'dominant' species throws light on our understanding of phenotypic plasticity and the ecology of invasive species.",
keywords = "Biomass, Diversity, Ecological theory, Evolutionary theory, Fertility, Model",
author = "John Warren and Topping, {Chris J.} and Penri James",
note = "IMPF: 01.41 Sponsorship: Centre for Integrated Population Ecology",
year = "2009",
month = jun,
doi = "10.1007/s12080-008-0035-z",
language = "English",
volume = "2",
pages = "119--126",
journal = "Theoretical Ecology",
issn = "1874-1738",
publisher = "Springer Nature",
number = "2",

}

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TY - JOUR

T1 - A unifying evolutionary theory for the biomass-diversity-fertility relationship

AU - Warren, John

AU - Topping, Chris J.

AU - James, Penri

N1 - IMPF: 01.41 Sponsorship: Centre for Integrated Population Ecology

PY - 2009/6

Y1 - 2009/6

N2 - Although a widely accepted ecological theory predicts that more diverse plant communities should be better able to capture resources and turn carbon dioxide into biomass, the most productive communities known are low diversity agricultural ones. This paradox has fuelled a long running controversy in ecology surrounding the nature of the relationship between diversity, productivity and fertility. Here, an evolutionary computer model is used which demonstrates that given the opportunity, species-rich communities may evolve under high fertility conditions. In contrast to low diversity, highly productive agricultural communities are shown to probably be a recent phenomenon. In simulations where fertility was applied to communities that had evolved under lower nutrient conditions, a few species had the ability to become 'dominant'. These species were responsible for the loss of diversity and for the majority of biomass production. These results are consistent with complementarity theory applying in nature in old co-evolved low nutrient communities, whereas in recently established fertile agricultural communities, dominant species appear to regulate biomass production. Understanding the nature of these 'dominant' species throws light on our understanding of phenotypic plasticity and the ecology of invasive species.

AB - Although a widely accepted ecological theory predicts that more diverse plant communities should be better able to capture resources and turn carbon dioxide into biomass, the most productive communities known are low diversity agricultural ones. This paradox has fuelled a long running controversy in ecology surrounding the nature of the relationship between diversity, productivity and fertility. Here, an evolutionary computer model is used which demonstrates that given the opportunity, species-rich communities may evolve under high fertility conditions. In contrast to low diversity, highly productive agricultural communities are shown to probably be a recent phenomenon. In simulations where fertility was applied to communities that had evolved under lower nutrient conditions, a few species had the ability to become 'dominant'. These species were responsible for the loss of diversity and for the majority of biomass production. These results are consistent with complementarity theory applying in nature in old co-evolved low nutrient communities, whereas in recently established fertile agricultural communities, dominant species appear to regulate biomass production. Understanding the nature of these 'dominant' species throws light on our understanding of phenotypic plasticity and the ecology of invasive species.

KW - Biomass

KW - Diversity

KW - Ecological theory

KW - Evolutionary theory

KW - Fertility

KW - Model

U2 - 10.1007/s12080-008-0035-z

DO - 10.1007/s12080-008-0035-z

M3 - Article

VL - 2

SP - 119

EP - 126

JO - Theoretical Ecology

JF - Theoretical Ecology

SN - 1874-1738

IS - 2

ER -

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