Slowly but steadily the results of the PaNDiv experiment start to be available. With many helping hands we piled up data about fungal infection, plant traits, community composition, biomass etc. and are now putting the pieces of the puzzle together. In the latest preprint we show that the functional composition of a plant community is a main driver of fungal infection and that the consequences of fungal infection are context dependent.
Sick plants in grassland communities, Cappelli et al. 2019 (preprint)
Figure 1 Overview over the main hypotheses which we tested. Growth-defense trade-off hypothesis: Plant species adapted to resource-rich environments and able to compete well under nutrient rich conditions are often less defended against natural enemies. Nitrogen disease hypothesis: Higher nutrient content of the plant material following nitrogen fertilization should promote disease. Host dilution hypothesis: Many pathogens are dependent on the availability and density of host plants. At high plant diversity the abundance of each host plant is in average lower than in species poor communities, which is suggested to be the underlying mechanism of observed negative diversity-disease relationships.
After 840 litter bags sewed, 2.5 months of decomposition, 4 years of experiment running and more than a 100 helpers helping, we are happy to announce that we submitted last week the first results of the PaNDiv Experiment. This paper looks at the response of decomposition to direct and indirect effects of nitrogen enrichment, with a fancy structural equation model testing the relative importance of litter quality and soil biotic and abiotic conditions.
It highlights the importance of a plant community functional shift under nitrogen enrichment. And for those that can’t wait until the paper gets accepted, here is the submitted draft on bioRxiv:
Decomposition disentangled, Pichon et al. 2019 (preprint)
Final results of the structural equation model, showing effects of nitrogen enrichment, plant species richness and plant functional composition on decomposition. Dashed arrows show negative, full arrows positive path coefficients. The arrow size is proportional to the path coefficient. Double-headed grey arrows show covariances.
We are excited to share a new paper from our group by María R. Felipe-Lucia et al.. It was published recently in Nature Communications and it shows how multiple different forest attributes contribute to providing different ecosystem services in forests. It was also reported on naturschutz.ch and mentioned in Die Zeit.