Above- and belowground overyielding are related at the community and species level in a grassland biodiversity experiment

Kathryn E. Barry, Alexandra Weigelt, Jasper van Ruijven, Hans de Kroon, Anne Ebeling, Nico Eisenhauer, Arthur Gessler, Janneke M. Ravenek, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Natalie J. Oram, Anja Vogel, Cameron Wagg, Liesje Mommer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


Plant species richness positively affects plant productivity both above- and belowground. While this suggests that they are related at the community level, few studies have calculated above- and belowground overyielding simultaneously. It thus remains unknown whether above- and belowground overyielding are correlated. Moreover, it is unknown how belowground community level overyielding translates to the species level. We investigated above- and belowground overyielding in the Jena Trait-Based Biodiversity Experiment, at both the community and species level and across two 8-species pools. We found that above- and belowground overyielding were positively correlated at the community level and at the species level—for seven out of the 13 investigated species. Some plant species performed better in mixtures compared to monocultures and others performed worse, but the majority did so simultaneously above- and belowground. However, plants invested more in aboveground overyielding than belowground. Based on this disproportional investment in overyielding aboveground, we conclude that light was more limiting than belowground resources in the present study, which requires individual species to compete more for light than for belowground resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Ecological Research
EditorsN. Eisenhauer, D.A. Bohan, A.J. Dumbrell
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780081029121
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Ecological Research
ISSN (Print)0065-2504


  • Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning
  • Biomass allocation
  • Functional diversity
  • Jena experiment
  • Light competition
  • Plant traits
  • Root biomass
  • Root:Shoot ratio
  • Shoot biomass
  • Species richness

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