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Gewählte Publikation:

Arnone, JA; Zaller, JG; Hofer, G; Schmid, B; Körner, C.
(2013): Loss of plant biodiversity eliminates stimulatory effect of elevated CO2 on earthworm activity in grasslands.
Oecologia. 2013; 171(3):613-622 FullText FullText_BOKU

Earthworms are among the worldxxxs most important ecosystem engineers because of their effects on soil fertility and plant productivity. Their dependence on plants for carbon, however, means that any changes in plant community structure or function caused by rising atmospheric CO2 or loss of plant species diversity could affect earthworm activity, which may feed back on plant communities. Production of surface casts measured during three consecutive years in field experimental plots (n = 24, 1.2 m(2)) planted with local calcareous grassland species that varied in plant species richness (diversity levels: high, 31 species; medium, 12; low, 5) and were exposed to ambient (356 mu l CO2 l(-1)) or elevated (600 mu l CO2 l(-1)) CO2 was only consistently stimulated in high diversity plots exposed to elevated CO2 (+120 %, 31 spp: 603 +/- A 52 under ambient CO2 vs. 1,325 +/- A 204 g cast dwt. m(-2) year(-1) under elevated CO2 in 1996; +77 %, 940 +/- A 44 vs. 1,663 +/- A 204 g cast dwt. m(-2) year(-1) in 1998). Reductions in plant diversity had little effect on cast production in ecosystems maintained at ambient CO2, but the stimulatory effect of elevated CO2 on cast production disappeared when plant species diversity was decreased to 12 and 5 species. High diversity plots were also the only communities that included plant species that an earlier field study showed to be among the most responsive to elevated CO2 and to be most preferred by earthworms to deposit casts near. Further, the +87 % CO2-induced increase in cast production measured over the 3 years corresponded to a parallel increase in cumulative total nitrogen of 5.7 g N m(-2) and would help explain the large stimulation of aboveground plant biomass production observed in high-diversity communities under elevated CO2. The results of this study demonstrate how the loss of plant species from communities can alter responses of major soil heterotrophs and consequently ecosystem biogeochemistry.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Zaller Johann
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Ecosystem engineers
Earthworm casts
Plant species richness
Calcareous grasslands
Soil nutrient availability
CO2 enrichment
Global change
Key species

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