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Drost H.-G.,University of Cambridge | Janitza P.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Grosse I.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Grosse I.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Quint M.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg
Current Opinion in Genetics and Development | Year: 2017

The developmental hourglass model has its foundations in classic anatomical studies by von Baer and Haeckel. In this context, even the conservation of animal body plans has been explained by evolutionary constraints acting on mid-embryogenic development. Recent studies have shown that developmental hourglass patterns also exist on the transcriptomic level, mirroring the corresponding morphological patterns. The identification of similar patterns in embryonic, post-embryonic, and life cycle spanning transcriptomes in plant and fungus development, however, contradict the notion of a direct coupling between morphological and molecular patterns. To explain the existence of hourglass patterns across kingdoms and developmental processes, we propose the organizational checkpoint model that integrates the developmental hourglass model into a framework of transcriptome switches. © 2017 The Authors

Reichstein M.,Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry | Reichstein M.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Bahn M.,University of Innsbruck | Mahecha M.D.,Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Classical biogeographical observations suggest that ecosystems are strongly shaped by climatic constraints in terms of their structure and function. On the other hand, vegetation function feeds back on the climate system via biosphere-atmosphere exchange of matter and energy. Ecosystem-level observations of this exchange reveal very large functional biogeographical variation of climate-relevant ecosystem functional properties related to carbon and water cycles. This variation is explained insufficiently by climate control and a classical plant functional type classification approach. For example, correlations between seasonal carbon-use efficiency and climate or environmental variables remain below 0.6, leaving almost 70% of variance unexplained. We suggest that a substantial part of this unexplained variation of ecosystem functional properties is related to variations in plant and microbial traits. Therefore, to progress with global functional biogeography, we should seek to understand the link between organismic traits and flux-derived ecosystem properties at ecosystem observation sites and the spatial variation of vegetation traits given geoecological covariates. This understanding can be fostered by synergistic use of both data-driven and theory-driven ecological as well as biophysical approaches.

Krober W.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Bruelheide H.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Bruelheide H.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig
Trees - Structure and Function | Year: 2014

Key message: Using an extensive dataset for 39 subtropical broadleaved tree species, we found traits of the leaf economics spectrum to be linked to mean stomatal conductance but not to stomatal regulation. The aim of our study was to establish links between stomatal control and functional leaf traits. We hypothesized that mean and maximum stomatal conductance (g s) varies with the traits described by the leaf economics spectrum, such as specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content, and that high g s values correspond to species with tender leaves and high photosynthetic capacity. In addition, we hypothesized that species with leaves of low stomata density have more limited stomatal closure than those with high stomata density. In order to account for confounding site condition effects, we made use of a common garden situation in which 39 deciduous and evergreen species of the same age were grown in a biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiment in Jiangxi (China). Daily courses of g s were measured with porometry, and the species-specific g s~vpd relationships were modeled. Our results show that mean stomatal conductance can be predicted from leaf traits that represent the leaf economics spectrum, with a positive relationship being related to leaf nitrogen content and a negative relationship with the leaf carbon: nitrogen ratio. In contrast, parameters of stomatal control were related to traits unassociated with the leaf economics spectrum. The maximum of the conductance~vpd curve was positively related to leaf carbon content and vein length. The vpd at the point of inflection of the conductance~vpd curve was lower for species with higher stomata density and higher for species with a high leaf carbon content. Overall, stomata size and density as well as vein length were more effective at explaining stomatal regulation than traits used in the leaf economics spectrum. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Lewandowska A.M.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Lewandowska A.M.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Boyce D.G.,Dalhousie University | Boyce D.G.,Queen's University | And 5 more authors.
Ecology Letters | Year: 2014

Ocean warming has been implicated in the observed decline of oceanic phytoplankton biomass. Some studies suggest a physical pathway of warming via stratification and nutrient flux, and others a biological effect on plankton metabolic rates; yet the relative strength and possible interaction of these mechanisms remains unknown. Here, we implement projections from a global circulation model in a mesocosm experiment to examine both mechanisms in a multi-trophic plankton community. Warming treatments had positive direct effects on phytoplankton biomass, but these were overcompensated by the negative effects of decreased nutrient flux. Zooplankton switched from phytoplankton to grazing on ciliates. These results contrast with previous experiments under nutrient-replete conditions, where warming indirectly reduced phytoplankton biomass via increased zooplankton grazing. We conclude that the effect of ocean warming on marine plankton depends on the nutrient regime, and provide a mechanistic basis for understanding global change in marine ecosystems. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

Buscot F.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig
Journal of Plant Physiology | Year: 2015

Being highly sensitive to ecological variations, symbiotic associations should inherently have a limited occurrence in nature. To circumvent this sensitivity and reach their universal distribution, symbioses used three strategies during their evolution, which all generated high biodiversity levels: (i) specialization to a specific environment, (ii) protection of one partner via its internalization into the other, (iii) frequent partner exchange. Mycorrhizal associations follow the 3rd strategy, but also present traits of internalization. As most ancient type, arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) formed by a monophyletic fungal group with reduced species richness did constantly support the mineral nutrition of terrestrial plants and enabled their ecological radiation and actual biodiversity level. In contrast ectomycorrhiza (EM) evolved later and independently within different taxa of fungi able to degrade complex organic plant residues, and the diversity levels of EM fungal and tree partners are balanced. Despite their different origins and diversity levels, AM and EM fungi display similar patterns of diversity dynamics in ecosystems. At each time or succession interval, a few dominant and many rare fungi are recruited by plants roots from a wide reservoir of propagules. However, the dominant fungal partners are frequently replaced in relation to changes in the vegetation or ecological conditions. While the initial establishment of AM and EM fungal communities corresponds to a neutral recruitment, their further succession is rather driven by niche differentiation dynamics. © 2014 The Authors.

Capinha C.,University of Porto | Essl F.,University of Vienna | Seebens H.,University of Oldenburg | Moser D.,University of Vienna | And 3 more authors.
Science | Year: 2015

It has been argued that globalization in human-mediated dispersal of species breaks down biogeographic boundaries, yet empirical tests are still missing. We used data on native and alien ranges of terrestrial gastropods to analyze dissimilarities in species composition among 56 globally distributed regions. We found that native ranges confirm the traditional biogeographic realms, reflecting natural dispersal limitations. However, the distributions of gastropods after human transport are primarily explained by the prevailing climate and, to a smaller extent, by distance and trade relationships. Our findings show that human-mediated dispersal is causing a breakdown of biogeographic barriers, and that climate and to some extent socioeconomic relationships will define biogeography in an era of global change.

Gerhold P.,University of Tartu | Cahill J.F.,University of Alberta | Winter M.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Bartish I.V.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 2 more authors.
Functional Ecology | Year: 2015

The subdiscipline of 'community phylogenetics' is rapidly growing and influencing thinking regarding community assembly. In particular, phylogenetic dispersion of co-occurring species within a community is commonly used as a proxy to identify which community assembly processes may have structured a particular community: phylogenetic clustering as a proxy for abiotic assembly, that is habitat filtering, and phylogenetic overdispersion as a proxy for biotic assembly, notably competition. We challenge this approach by highlighting (typically) implicit assumptions that are, in reality, only weakly supported, including (i) phylogenetic dispersion reflects trait dispersion; (ii) a given ecological function can be performed only by a single trait state or combination of trait states; (iii) trait similarity causes enhanced competition; (iv) competition causes species exclusion; (v) communities are at equilibrium with processes of assembly having been completed; (vi) assembly through habitat filtering decreases in importance if assembly through competition increases, such that the relative balance of the two can be thus quantified by a single parameter; and (vii) observed phylogenetic dispersion is driven predominantly by local and present-day processes. Moreover, technical sophistication of the phylogenetic-patterns-as-proxy approach trades off against sophistication in alternative, potentially more pertinent approaches to directly observe or manipulate assembly processes. Despite concerns about using phylogenetic dispersion as a proxy for community assembly processes, we suggest there are underappreciated benefits of quantifying the phylogenetic structure of communities, including (i) understanding how coexistence leads to the macroevolutionary diversification of habitat lineage-pools (i.e. phylogenetic-patterns-as-result approach); and (ii) understanding the macroevolutionary contingency of habitat lineage-pools and how it affects present-day species coexistence in local communities (i.e. phylogenetic-patterns-as-cause approach). We conclude that phylogenetic patterns may be little useful as proxy of community assembly. However, such patterns can prove useful to identify and test novel hypotheses on (i) how local coexistence may control macroevolution of the habitat lineage-pool, for example through competition among close relatives triggering displacement and diversification of characters, and (ii) how macroevolution within the habitat lineage-pool may control local coexistence of related species, for example through origin of close relatives that can potentially enter in competition. 2015 British Ecological Society.

Eggers S.L.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Lewandowska A.M.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Lewandowska A.M.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Barcelos e Ramos J.,University of The Azores | And 4 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Ecosystem functioning is simultaneously affected by changes in community composition and environmental change such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and subsequent ocean acidification. However, it largely remains uncertain how the effects of these factors compare to each other. Addressing this question, we experimentally tested the hypothesis that initial community composition and elevated CO2 are equally important to the regulation of phytoplankton biomass. We full-factorially exposed three compositionally different marine phytoplankton communities to two different CO2 levels and examined the effects and relative importance (ω2) of the two factors and their interaction on phytoplankton biomass at bloom peak. The results showed that initial community composition had a significantly greater impact than elevated CO2 on phytoplankton biomass, which varied largely among communities. We suggest that the different initial ratios between cyanobacteria, diatoms, and dinoflagellates might be the key for the varying competitive and thus functional outcome among communities. Furthermore, the results showed that depending on initial community composition elevated CO2 selected for larger sized diatoms, which led to increased total phytoplankton biomass. This study highlights the relevance of initial community composition, which strongly drives the functional outcome, when assessing impacts of climate change on ecosystem functioning. In particular, the increase in phytoplankton biomass driven by the gain of larger sized diatoms in response to elevated CO2 potentially has strong implications for nutrient cycling and carbon export in future oceans. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Stahl U.,Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry | Reu B.,University of Leipzig | Wirth C.,University of Leipzig | Wirth C.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Using functional traits to explain species' range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree) - indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations - explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic "no-go areas" for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation.

Brose U.,German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle Jena Leipzig | Brose U.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Hillebrand H.,Carl von Ossietzky University
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2016

The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) and its consequence for ecosystem services has predominantly been studied by controlled, short-term and small-scale experiments under standardized environmental conditions and constant community compositions. However, changes in biodiversity occur in real-world ecosystems with varying environments and a dynamic community composition. In this theme issue, we present novel research on BEF in such dynamic communities. The contributions are organized in three sections on BEF relationships in (i) multi-trophic diversity, (ii) non-equilibrium biodiversity under disturbance and varying environmental conditions, and (iii) large spatial and long temporal scales. The first section shows that multi-trophic BEF relationships often appear idiosyncratic, while accounting for species traits enables a predictive understanding. Future BEF research on complex communities needs to include ecological theory that is based on first principles of species-averaged body masses, stoichiometry and effects of environmental conditions such as temperature. The second section illustrates that disturbance and varying environments have direct as well as indirect (via changes in species richness, community composition and species’ traits) effects on BEF relationships. Fluctuations in biodiversity (species richness, community composition and also trait dominance within species) can severely modify BEF relationships. The third section demonstrates that BEF at larger spatial scales is driven by different variables. While species richness per se and community biomass are most important, species identity effects and community composition are less important than at small scales. Across long temporal scales, mass extinctions represent severe changes in biodiversity with mixed effects on ecosystem functions. Together, the contributions of this theme issue identify new research frontiers and answer some open questions on BEF relationships in dynamic communities of real-world landscapes. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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