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Ecosystem recovery after climatic extremes enhanced by genotypic diversity

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56884

Reusch,  Thorsten B. H.
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56658

Ehlers,  Anneli
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56707

Hämmerli,  August
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Reusch, T. B. H., Ehlers, A., Hämmerli, A., & Worm, B. (2005). Ecosystem recovery after climatic extremes enhanced by genotypic diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(8), 2826-2831. doi:10.1073/pnas.0500008102.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-D9EF-2
Abstract
Contemporary climate change is characterized both by increasing mean temperature and increasing climate variability such as heat waves, storms, and floods. How populations and communities cope with such climatic extremes is a question central to contemporary ecology and biodiversity conservation. Previous work has shown that species diversity can affect ecosystem functioning and resilience. Here, we show that genotypic diversity can replace the role of species diversity in a species-poor coastal ecosystem, and it may buffer against extreme climatic events. In a manipulative field experiment, increasing the genotypic diversity of the cosmopolitan seagrass Zostera marina enhanced biomass production, plant density, and faunal abundance, despite near-lethal water temperatures due to extreme warming across Europe. Net biodiversity effects were explained by genotypic complementarity rather than by selection of particularly robust genotypes. Positive effects on invertebrate fauna suggest that genetic diversity has second-order effects reaching higher trophic levels. Our results highlight the importance of maintaining genetic as well as species diversity to enhance ecosystem resilience in a world of increasing uncertainty.