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Putting the 'upstairs-downstairs' into ecosystem service: what can aboveground-belowground ecology tell us?

A'Bear, A. Donald, Johnson, Scott N. and Jones, Thomas Hefin 2014. Putting the 'upstairs-downstairs' into ecosystem service: what can aboveground-belowground ecology tell us? Biological Control 75 (August) , pp. 97-107. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2013.10.004

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Interactions between spatially-separated aboveground and belowground biota exert important influences on the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Plant root exudates and litter inputs affect root-associated and decomposer sub-communities, which, in turn, regulate nutrient availability and plant growth. Ecosystem services theoretically attributed to specific functional components of aboveground or belowground biota are, therefore, influenced by indirect (plant-mediated) interactions with the wider community. Some recent studies have considered aboveground–belowground interactions in a climate change context, with implications for altered ecosystem service provision. This review is a conceptual discussion of the mechanisms by which aboveground–belowground interactions affect specific ecosystem services: control of herbivores by natural enemies, insect pollination and nutrient mineralization by soil decomposers. While some mechanisms are well-characterized, others are poorly understood. Reducing root and shoot herbivory, in addition to the direct plant benefit, indirectly promotes antagonism of the spatially-separate herbivore by its natural enemies. Soil decomposers and mycorrhizal fungi can increase shoot herbivore performance such that control by natural enemies is weakened, or initiate bottom-up trophic cascades which strengthen antagonism of shoot herbivores. Aboveground herbivory generally stimulates nutrient cycling by decomposers. Root herbivory and mycorrhizal association both appear to increase floral attractiveness to insect pollinators. Mechanisms reflect alterations to plant growth, nutritional quality and chemical defenses. Climate change has considerable potential to alter aboveground–belowground interactions, with largely unexplored implications for biological control, pollination and soil nutrient cycling.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1049-9644
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 11:16

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