Soil multitrophic network complexity enhances the link between biodiversity and multifunctionality in agricultural systems
Shuo Jiao, Yahai Lu and Gehong Wei
Global Change Biology
Belowground biodiversity supports multiple ecosystem functions and services that humans rely on. However, there is a dearth of studies exploring the determinants of the biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) relationships, particularly in intensely managed agricultural ecosystems. Here, we reported significant and positive relationships between soil biodiversity of multiple organism groups and multiple ecosystem functions in 228 agricultural fields, relating to crop yield, nutrient provisioning, element cycling, and pathogen control. The relationships were influenced by the types of organisms that soil phylotypes with larger sizes or at higher trophic levels, for example, invertebrates or protist predators, appeared to exhibit weaker or no BEF relationships when compared to those with smaller sizes or at lower trophic levels, for example, archaea, bacteria, fungi, and protist phototrophs. Particularly, we highlighted the role of soil network complexity, reflected by co-occurrence patterns among multitrophic-level organisms, in enhancing the link between soil biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Our results represent a significant advance in forecasting the impacts of belowground multitrophic organisms on ecosystem functions in agricultural systems, and suggest that soil multitrophic network complexity should be considered a key factor in enhancing ecosystem productivity and sustainability under land-use intensification.