Biodiversity, productivity and the temporal stability of productivity: Patterns and processes

  • Isbell F
  • Polley H
  • Wilsey B
  • 369


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 161


    Citations of this article.


Theory predicts that the temporal stability of productivity, measured as the ratio of the mean to the standard deviation of community biomass, increases with species richness and evenness. We used experimental species mixtures of grassland plants to test this hypothesis and identified the mechanisms involved. Additionally, we tested whether biodiversity, productivity and temporal stability were similarly influenced by particular types of species interactions. We found that productivity was less variable among years in plots planted with more species. Temporal stability did not depend on whether the species were planted equally abundant (high evenness) or not (realistically low evenness). Greater richness increased temporal stability by increasing overyielding, asynchrony of species fluctuations and statistical averaging. Species interactions that favoured unproductive species increased both biodiversity and temporal stability. Species interactions that resulted in niche partitioning or facilitation increased both productivity and temporal stability. Thus, species interactions can promote biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning
  • Complementarity effect
  • Ecosystem conservation
  • Evenness
  • Facilitation
  • Long-term data
  • Net biodiversity effect
  • Niche partitioning
  • Richness
  • Selection effect

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free