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Ecologically diverse and distinct neighbourhoods trigger persistent phenotypic consequences, and amine metabolic profiling detects them

Hennion, Françoise, Litrico, Isabelle, Bartish, Igor V., Weigelt, Alexandra, Bouchereau, Alain, Prinzing, Andreas, Gibson, David
The journal of ecology 2016 v.104 no.1 pp. 125-137
Dactylis glomerata, amines, biomass, ecosystems, genotype, global change, grasses, growth regulators, metabolomics, phenotype, phylogeny, plant communities, species diversity
Global change triggers rapid alterations in the composition and diversity of plant communities which may change ecosystem functioning. Do changes in community diversity also change traits persistently, that is does coexistence with numerous or functionally or phylogenetically distinct species trigger, in a given focal species, trait shifts that persist? We studied the grass Dactylis glomerata. Dactylis was grown in experimental plots with different species compositions for 5 years, sampled, cloned and grown in a common garden. We studied amines, regulators integrating growth responses of organisms to their environment. We found that the mean levels and variances of most amines depended on the diversity of the source community, notably the species richness and the phylogenetic and functional distinctness from Dactylis, unbiased by species identity or biomass shifts. Synthesis. Our results suggest that different levels of ambient diversity can, within a few years, select for different genotypes which have different compositions of growth regulators. Our study also suggests that a plant species can evolve in response to the diversity or distinctness of the surrounding plant community. Evolutionary changes of plant phenotypes might mediate an impact of past biological diversity on present ecosystem functioning.