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Diversity--functioning relationships across hierarchies of biological organization
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  • Sarah Mayor,
  • Eric Allan,
  • Florian Altermatt,
  • Forest Isbell,
  • Michael Schaepman,
  • Bernhard Schmid,
  • Pascal Niklaus
Sarah Mayor
University of Zurich
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Eric Allan
University of Bern
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Florian Altermatt
University of Zurich
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Forest Isbell
University of Minnesota System
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Michael Schaepman
Universitat Zurich Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultat
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Bernhard Schmid
University of Zurich
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Pascal Niklaus
University of Zurich

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Numerous biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) experiments have shown that plant community productivity typically increases with species diversity. In these studies, diversity is generally quantified using metrics of taxonomic, phylogenetic, or functional differences among community members. Research has also shown that the relationships between species diversity and functioning depends on the spatial scale considered, primarily because larger areas may contain different ecosystem types and span gradients in environmental conditions, which result in a turnover of the species set present locally. A fact that has received little attention, however, is that ecological systems are hierarchically structured, from genes to individuals to communities to entire landscapes, and that additional biological variation occurs at levels of organization above and below those typically considered in BEF research. Here, we present cases of diversity effects at different hierarchical levels of organization and compare these to the species-diversity effects traditionally studied. We argue that when this evidence is combined across levels, a general framework emerges that allows the transfer of insights and concepts between traditionally disparate disciplines. Such a framework presents an important step towards a better understanding of the functional importance of diversity in complex, real-world systems.
25 May 2023Submitted to Oikos
25 May 2023Submission Checks Completed
25 May 2023Assigned to Editor
25 May 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
04 Sep 20231st Revision Received
04 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
04 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
04 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Accept