Chapter

The analysis of biodiversity experiments: from pattern toward mechanism

Andy Hector, Thomas Bell, John Connolly, John Finn, Jeremy Fox, Laura Kirwan, Michel Loreau, Jennie McLaren, Bernhard Schmid and Alexandra Weigelt

in Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547951
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720345 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547951.003.0007
 The analysis of biodiversity experiments: from pattern toward mechanism

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Meta-analysis of the first generation of biodiversity experiments has revealed that there is a general positive relationship between diversity and ecosystem processes that is consistent across trophic groups and ecosystem types. However, the mechanisms generating these general patterns are still under debate. While there are unresolved conceptual issues about the nature of diversity and complementarity, the debate is partly due to the difficulty of performing a full-factorial analysis of the functional effects of all species in a diverse community. However, there are now several different analytical approaches that can address mechanisms even when full factorial analysis is not possible. This chapter presents an overview and users' guide to these methods. This chapter concludes that the current toolbox of methods allows investigation of the mechanisms for most, if not all, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning experiments conducted to date that manipulate species within a single trophic level (e.g. plant biodiversity experiments). Methods that can address mechanisms in multitrophic studies are a key need for future research.

Keywords: biodiversity experiments; complementarity; resource partitioning; selection; additive partitioning of biodiversity effects

Chapter.  9887 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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