Special Issue "Symbioses and the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Relationship"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kimberly (La Pierre) Komatsu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 21037, USA
Interests: community ecology; mutualisms; biodiversity; ecosystem function; grasslands; trophic interactions; agroecosystems; global change – invasions, climate change, eutrophication, elevated CO2, diversity loss
Dr. Benton Taylor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 21037, USA
Interests: ecosystem ecology; symbiotic nitrogen fixation; fine root ecology; tropical rainforests; CO2 fertilization; forest regeneration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function has become a major sub-discipline of ecology, providing important insight into the operation and potential conservation of complex ecosystems. In many ecosystems, symbiotic partnerships (e.g., plant–microbe, plant–insect, coral–algae, cleaner fish/birds, gut–microbe, host–pathogen) can have dramatic impacts on ecosystem functioning. Indeed, the multi-species nature of symbiotic relationships amplifies the potential for symbiont biodiversity to play a particularly strong role in driving ecosystem function. However, our understanding of how ecosystem function is influenced by changes in the biodiversity of hosts and their symbionts remains in its early stages.

Does the diversity of the symbiont community influence its host’s function in an ecosystem? Do patterns of host and symbiont diversity and function co-vary across space and time? Does the increased diversity of symbiotic partnerships have a disproportionate influence on total ecosystem function? How does the biodiversity and functioning of an ecosystem influence the propensity for symbioses to occur? Answering these questions and others holds great potential for increasing our understanding of how biodiversity influences the functioning of natural ecosystems. For this Special Issue, we welcome theoretical, empirical, and synthesizing work on the role that symbiosis plays in driving biodiversity–ecosystem function relationships in terrestrial and/or aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Kimberly (La Pierre) Komatsu
Dr. Benton Taylor
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity–ecosystem function
  • mutualism
  • commensalism
  • parasitism
  • productivity
  • nutrient cycling
  • multi-functionality
  • ecosystem stability
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Tree Diversity Reduces Fungal Endophyte Richness and Diversity in a Large-Scale Temperate Forest Experiment
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120234 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1524
Abstract
Although decades of research have typically demonstrated a positive correlation between biodiversity of primary producers and associated trophic levels, the ecological drivers of this association are poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests that the plant microbiome, or the fungi and bacteria found on and [...] Read more.
Although decades of research have typically demonstrated a positive correlation between biodiversity of primary producers and associated trophic levels, the ecological drivers of this association are poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests that the plant microbiome, or the fungi and bacteria found on and inside plant hosts, may be cryptic yet important drivers of important processes, including primary production and trophic interactions. Here, using high-throughput sequencing, we characterized foliar fungal community diversity, composition, and function from 15 broadleaved tree species (N = 545) in a recently established, large-scale temperate tree diversity experiment using over 17,000 seedlings. Specifically, we tested whether increases in tree richness and phylogenetic diversity would increase fungal endophyte diversity (the “Diversity Begets Diversity” hypothesis), as well as alter community composition (the “Tree Diversity–Endophyte Community” hypothesis) and function (the “Tree Diversity–Endophyte Function” hypothesis) at different spatial scales. We demonstrated that increasing tree richness and phylogenetic diversity decreased fungal species and functional guild richness and diversity, including pathogens, saprotrophs, and parasites, within the first three years of a forest diversity experiment. These patterns were consistent at the neighborhood and tree plot scale. Our results suggest that fungal endophytes, unlike other trophic levels (e.g., herbivores as well as epiphytic bacteria), respond negatively to increasing plant diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbioses and the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Relationship)
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Review

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Review
Measuring and Linking the Missing Part of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function: The Diversity of Biotic Interactions
Diversity 2020, 12(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12030086 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2243
Abstract
Biotic interactions are part of all ecosystem attributes and play an important role in the structure and stability of biological communities. In this study, we give a brief account of how the threads of biotic interactions are linked and how we can measure [...] Read more.
Biotic interactions are part of all ecosystem attributes and play an important role in the structure and stability of biological communities. In this study, we give a brief account of how the threads of biotic interactions are linked and how we can measure such complexity by focusing on mutualistic interactions. We start by explaining that although biotic interactions are fundamental ecological processes, they are also a component of biodiversity with a clear α, β and γ diversity structure which can be measured and used to explain how biotic interactions vary over time and space. Specifically, we explain how to estimate the α-diversity by measuring the properties of species interaction networks. We also untangle the components of the β-diversity and how it can be used to make pairwise comparisons between networks. Moreover, we move forward to explain how local ecological networks are a subset of a regional pool of species and potential interactions, γ-diversity, and how this approach allows assessing the spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological networks. Finally, we propose a new framework for studying interactions and the biodiversity–ecosystem function relationship by identifying the unique and common interactions of local networks over space, time or both together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbioses and the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Relationship)
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Review
More Than a Functional Group: Diversity within the Legume–Rhizobia Mutualism and Its Relationship with Ecosystem Function
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020050 - 28 Jan 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1832
Abstract
Studies of biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF) have long focused on the role of nitrogen (N)-fixing legumes as a functional group that occupies a distinct and important niche relative to other plants. Because of their relationship with N-fixing rhizobial bacteria, these legumes access [...] Read more.
Studies of biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF) have long focused on the role of nitrogen (N)-fixing legumes as a functional group that occupies a distinct and important niche relative to other plants. Because of their relationship with N-fixing rhizobial bacteria, these legumes access a different pool of N than other plants and therefore directly contribute to increases in productivity and N-cycling. Despite their recognized importance in the BEF literature, the field has not moved far beyond investigating the presence/absence of the legume functional group in species mixtures. Here, we synthesize existing information on how the diversity (species richness and functional diversity) of both legumes and the rhizobia that they host impact ecosystem functions, such as nitrogen fixation and primary productivity. We also discuss the often-overlooked reciprocal direction of the BEF relationship, whereby ecosystem function can influence legume and rhizobial diversity. We focus on BEF mechanisms of selection, complementarity, facilitation, competitive interference, and dilution effects to explain how diversity in the legume–rhizobia mutualism can have either positive or negative effects on ecosystem function—mechanisms that can operate at scales from rhizobial communities affecting individual legume functions to legume communities affecting landscape-scale ecosystem functions. To fully understand the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, we must incorporate the full diversity of this mutualism and its reciprocal relationship with ecosystem function into our evolving BEF framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbioses and the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Relationship)
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