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Plant Genotypic Diversity Predicts Community Structure and Governs an Ecosystem Process

Science  18 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5789, pp. 966-968
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128326

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Abstract

Theory predicts, and recent empirical studies have shown, that the diversity of plant species determines the diversity of associated herbivores and mediates ecosystem processes, such as aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP). However, an often-overlooked component of plant diversity, namely population genotypic diversity, may also have wide-ranging effects on community structure and ecosystem processes. We showed experimentally that increasing population genotypic diversity in a dominant old-field plant species, Solidago altissima, determined arthropod diversity and community structure and increased ANPP. The effects of genotypic diversity on arthropod diversity and ANPP were comparable to the effects of plant species diversity measured in other studies.

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