Collaborative Research Centre 990: Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia) (Phase 2: 2016 – 2019)

The use of barcoding sequences for the construction of community phylogenies to estimate phylogenetic and functional diversity and their linkages

Transformation of forests into intensively managed systems results in a significant loss of biodiversity (Bohnert et al. 2016, Drescher et al. 2016, Rembold et al. 2017), which is associated with ecosystem function (biodiversity-ecosystem function, BEF) (Midgley 2012). However, this association is only partly understood from a small number of ecosystems studied. Loss in biodiversity is expected to have the strongest effect on ecosystem function, if it affects species that have different functional traits important for ecosystem function, and if these traits are strongly phylogenetically conserved. Under these premises, data on phylogenetic and taxonomic biodiversity can provide important additional information to estimate functional diversity and assess the effects of species loss and turnover on ecosystem function. As part of the Central Scientific Service project Z02, a large number of barcoding sequences are being generated for plant, animal and fungal species. The availability of these sequence data provides the unique opportunity to construct community phylogenies to derive accurate estimates of phylogenetic diversity and its association with functional diversity. This kind of detailed DNA barcoding information with a wide coverage across taxonomic groups and land-use systems is probably unprecedented for the tropics. Additionally, we will test for signatures of coevolution between plant and associated mycorrhizal fungi. We expect that these signatures are most pronounced in undisturbed forest systems. The knowledge on co-evolutionary relationships will help to predict the effects of land transformation on biodiversity and ecosystem function.
Specifically, we propose to (1) analyse the relationship between functional and phylogenetic diversity to test whether basic ecosystem functions can be retained under low diversity across land-use systems (cooperation with the Scientific project B06 Kreft), (2) the effect of alien species on phylogenetic, taxonomic and functional diversity, and (3) the relationship between plant biodiversity and diversity of associated organisms (mycorrhizal fungi, microbes, soil animals) in different land-use systems (in cooperation with the Scientific projects B07 Polle, B02 Daniel, and B08 Scheu).