Most soil trophic guilds increase plant growth: a meta-analytical reviewOikos (2014)
Trophic cascades are important drivers of plant and animal abundances in aquatic and aboveground systems, but in soils trophic cascades have been thought to be of limited importance due to omnivory and other factors. Here we use a meta-analysis of 215 studies with 1526 experiments that measured plant growth responses to additions or removals of soil organisms to test how different soil trophic levels affect plant growth. Consistent with the trophic cascade hypothesis, we found that herbivores and plant pathogens (henceforth pests) decreased plant growth and that predators of pests increased plant growth. The magnitude of this trophic cascade was similar to that reported for aboveground systems. In contrast, we did not find evidence for trophic cascades in decomposer- and symbiont-based (henceforth mutualist) food chains. In these food chains, mutualists increased plant growth and predators of mutualists also increased plant growth, presumably by increasing nutrient cycling rates. Therefore, mutualists, predators of mutualists and predators of pests all increased plant growth...
Citation InformationAndrew Kulmatiski, Andrew Anderson-Smith, Karen H. Beard, Stephen Doucette-Riise, et al.. "Most soil trophic guilds increase plant growth: a meta-analytical review" Oikos Vol. 123 Iss. 12 (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/karenh_beard/140/