Transformation of forests into intensively managed systems results in a significant loss of biodiversity, which is associated with reduced ecosystem function (biodiversity-ecosystem function). 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 with 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 current project (B14 Gailing) and Z02 Scheu/Knohl/Erasmi, a large number of barcoding sequences are being generated for plant, fungal and animal species from different forest strata. The availability of these sequence data provides the unique opportunity to construct community phylogenies and 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 unprecedented for the tropics. We will expand our barcoding efforts to the 124 Landscape Assessment plots to facilitate upscaling the effects of rainforest transformation to the landscape level, by comparing the phylogenetic community structure between the four different land-use systems (rainforest, shrubland, rubber and oil palm plantations) in a broader context.
Specifically, we propose to analyse (1) the relationship between functional and phylogenetic diversity to test whether basic ecosystem functions can be retained under low diversity across land-use systems and across different taxa (cooperation with B06 Kreft and B04 Leuschner/Kotowska), (2) the relationship between plant biodiversity and diversity of associated organisms (mycorrhizal fungi, microbes, soil animals) in different land-use systems and across a gradient of landscape heterogeneity (cooperation with B02 Daniel, B06 Kreft, B07 Polle/Pena, B08 Scheu), (3) develop a synthesis phylogeny into a comprehensive tree of life for the biodiversity estimation of the different transformation systems (cooperation with B06 Kreft) and (4) apply new metabarcoding approaches on pollen samples in cooperation with A01 Behling and B09 Westphal/Grass to assess effects of rainforest transformation and landscape heterogeneity on pollination services, foraging behaviour and colony development of stingless bees, vegetation-pollen rain relationships and past vegetation using subfossil pollen.