Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities

Fernando T. Maestre, Matthew A Bowker, Cristina Escolar, María D. Puche, Santiago Soliveres, Sara Maltez-Mouro, Pablo García-Palacios, Andrea P. Castillo-Monroy, Isabel Martínez, Adrián Escudero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change will exacerbate the degree of abiotic stress experienced by semi-arid ecosystems. While abiotic stress profoundly affects biotic interactions, their potential role as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change is largely unknown. Using plants and biological soil crusts, we tested the relative importance of facilitative-competitive interactions and other community attributes (cover, species richness and species evenness) as drivers of ecosystem functioning along stress gradients in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Biotic interactions shifted from facilitation to competition along stress gradients driven by water availability and temperature. These changes were, however, dependent on the spatial scale and the community considered. We found little evidence to suggest that biotic interactions are a major direct influence upon indicators of ecosystem functioning (soil respiration, organic carbon, water-holding capacity, compaction and the activity of enzymes related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) along stress gradients. However, attributes such as cover and species richness showed a direct effect on ecosystem functioning. Our results do not agree with predictions emphasizing that the importance of plant-plant interactions will be increased under climate change in dry environments, and indicate that reductions in the cover of plant and biological soil crust communities will negatively impact ecosystems under future climatic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2057-2070
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume365
Issue number1549
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 12 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

soil crusts
soil crust
Ecosystems
Ecosystem
Soil
Soils
ecosystems
ecosystem
Climate Change
Climate change
climate change
abiotic stress
species richness
phosphorus cycle
Carbon
Nitrogen Cycle
species evenness
ecosystem response
nitrogen cycle
species diversity

Keywords

  • Biotic interactions
  • Climate change
  • Competition
  • Facilitation
  • Mediterranean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities. / Maestre, Fernando T.; Bowker, Matthew A; Escolar, Cristina; Puche, María D.; Soliveres, Santiago; Maltez-Mouro, Sara; García-Palacios, Pablo; Castillo-Monroy, Andrea P.; Martínez, Isabel; Escudero, Adrián.

In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 365, No. 1549, 12.07.2010, p. 2057-2070.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Maestre, FT, Bowker, MA, Escolar, C, Puche, MD, Soliveres, S, Maltez-Mouro, S, García-Palacios, P, Castillo-Monroy, AP, Martínez, I & Escudero, A 2010, 'Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 365, no. 1549, pp. 2057-2070. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0016
Maestre, Fernando T. ; Bowker, Matthew A ; Escolar, Cristina ; Puche, María D. ; Soliveres, Santiago ; Maltez-Mouro, Sara ; García-Palacios, Pablo ; Castillo-Monroy, Andrea P. ; Martínez, Isabel ; Escudero, Adrián. / Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2010 ; Vol. 365, No. 1549. pp. 2057-2070.
@article{f0a390f8f640452e9d0a8fff8a7c8a20,
title = "Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities",
abstract = "Climate change will exacerbate the degree of abiotic stress experienced by semi-arid ecosystems. While abiotic stress profoundly affects biotic interactions, their potential role as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change is largely unknown. Using plants and biological soil crusts, we tested the relative importance of facilitative-competitive interactions and other community attributes (cover, species richness and species evenness) as drivers of ecosystem functioning along stress gradients in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Biotic interactions shifted from facilitation to competition along stress gradients driven by water availability and temperature. These changes were, however, dependent on the spatial scale and the community considered. We found little evidence to suggest that biotic interactions are a major direct influence upon indicators of ecosystem functioning (soil respiration, organic carbon, water-holding capacity, compaction and the activity of enzymes related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) along stress gradients. However, attributes such as cover and species richness showed a direct effect on ecosystem functioning. Our results do not agree with predictions emphasizing that the importance of plant-plant interactions will be increased under climate change in dry environments, and indicate that reductions in the cover of plant and biological soil crust communities will negatively impact ecosystems under future climatic conditions.",
keywords = "Biotic interactions, Climate change, Competition, Facilitation, Mediterranean",
author = "Maestre, {Fernando T.} and Bowker, {Matthew A} and Cristina Escolar and Puche, {Mar{\'i}a D.} and Santiago Soliveres and Sara Maltez-Mouro and Pablo Garc{\'i}a-Palacios and Castillo-Monroy, {Andrea P.} and Isabel Mart{\'i}nez and Adri{\'a}n Escudero",
year = "2010",
month = "7",
day = "12",
doi = "10.1098/rstb.2010.0016",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "365",
pages = "2057--2070",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0800-4622",
publisher = "Royal Society of London",
number = "1549",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities

AU - Maestre, Fernando T.

AU - Bowker, Matthew A

AU - Escolar, Cristina

AU - Puche, María D.

AU - Soliveres, Santiago

AU - Maltez-Mouro, Sara

AU - García-Palacios, Pablo

AU - Castillo-Monroy, Andrea P.

AU - Martínez, Isabel

AU - Escudero, Adrián

PY - 2010/7/12

Y1 - 2010/7/12

N2 - Climate change will exacerbate the degree of abiotic stress experienced by semi-arid ecosystems. While abiotic stress profoundly affects biotic interactions, their potential role as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change is largely unknown. Using plants and biological soil crusts, we tested the relative importance of facilitative-competitive interactions and other community attributes (cover, species richness and species evenness) as drivers of ecosystem functioning along stress gradients in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Biotic interactions shifted from facilitation to competition along stress gradients driven by water availability and temperature. These changes were, however, dependent on the spatial scale and the community considered. We found little evidence to suggest that biotic interactions are a major direct influence upon indicators of ecosystem functioning (soil respiration, organic carbon, water-holding capacity, compaction and the activity of enzymes related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) along stress gradients. However, attributes such as cover and species richness showed a direct effect on ecosystem functioning. Our results do not agree with predictions emphasizing that the importance of plant-plant interactions will be increased under climate change in dry environments, and indicate that reductions in the cover of plant and biological soil crust communities will negatively impact ecosystems under future climatic conditions.

AB - Climate change will exacerbate the degree of abiotic stress experienced by semi-arid ecosystems. While abiotic stress profoundly affects biotic interactions, their potential role as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change is largely unknown. Using plants and biological soil crusts, we tested the relative importance of facilitative-competitive interactions and other community attributes (cover, species richness and species evenness) as drivers of ecosystem functioning along stress gradients in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Biotic interactions shifted from facilitation to competition along stress gradients driven by water availability and temperature. These changes were, however, dependent on the spatial scale and the community considered. We found little evidence to suggest that biotic interactions are a major direct influence upon indicators of ecosystem functioning (soil respiration, organic carbon, water-holding capacity, compaction and the activity of enzymes related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) along stress gradients. However, attributes such as cover and species richness showed a direct effect on ecosystem functioning. Our results do not agree with predictions emphasizing that the importance of plant-plant interactions will be increased under climate change in dry environments, and indicate that reductions in the cover of plant and biological soil crust communities will negatively impact ecosystems under future climatic conditions.

KW - Biotic interactions

KW - Climate change

KW - Competition

KW - Facilitation

KW - Mediterranean

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77954732883&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77954732883&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rstb.2010.0016

DO - 10.1098/rstb.2010.0016

M3 - Article

C2 - 20513714

AN - SCOPUS:77954732883

VL - 365

SP - 2057

EP - 2070

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0800-4622

IS - 1549

ER -