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Belowground biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Nature volume 515, pages 505511 (27 November 2014) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Evidence is mounting that the immense diversity of microorganisms and animals that live belowground contributes significantly to shaping aboveground biodiversity and the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Our understanding of how this belowground biodiversity is distributed, and how it regulates the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, is rapidly growing. Evidence also points to soil biodiversity as having a key role in determining the ecological and evolutionary responses of terrestrial ecosystems to current and future environmental change. Here we review recent progress and propose avenues for further research in this field.

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Acknowledgements

This work was conceived as part of a symposium on Soil Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning at INTECOL, London 2013, which was supported by the British Ecological Society. The work was supported by the European Commission through the project Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils (EcoFINDERS) (FP7-264465) and an ERC-ADV grant to W.H.v.d.P. We are grateful to P. Brinkman for logistical support, and A. Jones from the Joint Research Centre, Ispra, for providing photographs, and A. Bardgett for compiling Fig. 1.

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Affiliations

  1. Faculty of Life Sciences, Michael Smith Building, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom

    • Richard D. Bardgett
  2. Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), PO Box 50, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands

    • Wim H. van der Putten
  3. Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, PO Box 8123, 6700 ES Wageningen, The Netherlands

    • Wim H. van der Putten

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Contributions

R.D.B and W.H.v.d.P contributed equally to the planning and writing of the manuscript.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Richard D. Bardgett.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13855

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