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Trends Ecol Evol. 2005 Nov;20(11):625-33. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Linking aboveground and belowground diversity.

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Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, On, Canada, N1G 2W1.


Aboveground and belowground species interactions drive ecosystem properties at the local scale, but it is unclear how these relationships scale-up to regional and global scales. Here, we discuss our current knowledge of aboveground and belowground diversity links from a global to a local scale. Global diversity peaks towards the Equator for large, aboveground organisms, but not for small (mainly belowground) organisms, suggesting that there are size-related biodiversity gradients in global aboveground-belowground linkages. The generalization of aboveground-belowground diversity relationships, and their role in ecosystem functioning, requires surveys at scales that are relevant to the organisms and ecosystem properties. Habitat sizes and diversity gradients can differ significantly between aboveground and belowground organisms and between ecosystems. These gradients in biodiversity and plant community trait perception need to be acknowledged when studying aboveground-belowground biodiversity linkages.


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