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Data from: Functional traits explain ecosystem function through opposing mechanisms


Cadotte, Marc W. (2018), Data from: Functional traits explain ecosystem function through opposing mechanisms, Dryad, Dataset,


The ability to explain why multispecies assemblages produce greater biomass compared to monocultures, has been a central goal in the quest to understand biodiversity effects on ecosystem function. Species contributions to ecosystem function can be driven by two processes: niche complementarity and a selection effect that is influenced by fitness (competitive) differences, and both can be approximated with measures of species’ traits. It has been hypothesised that fitness differences are associated with few, singular traits while complementarity requires multidimensional trait measures. Here, using experimental data from plant assemblages, I show that the selection effect was strongest when trait dissimilarity was low, while complementarity was greatest with high trait dissimilarity. Selection effects were best explained by a single trait, plant height. Complementarity was correlated with dissimilarity across multiple traits, representing above and below ground processes. By identifying the relevant traits linked to ecosystem function, we obtain the ability to predict combinations of species that will maximise ecosystem function.

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