Effects of biodiversity on the transmission of foliar fungal pathogens in the German tree diversity experiment BIOTREE

Current theory on transmission rates of plant pathogens predicts a strong influence of host diversity on the degree of infection. We tested this prediction for foliar fungal pathogens on forest tree species, making use of the BIOTREE tree diversity experiment in Germany. We hypothesized that fungal species diversity was positively and fungal pathogen load negatively related to tree species diversity. We conducted analyses at three hierarchical levels, at the plot level, the level of single tree species, and the level of individual fungus species. We found strong tree species identity effects at the plot level as the presence of Quercus petraea resulted in a high pathogen load. There was a negative effect of tree diversity on the pathogen load of common powdery mildew species. Thus, for the first time we experimentally showed that disease risk and pathogen transmission in forest tree species depends on tree diversity.

Plants include a number of familiar organisms including trees, forbs, shrubs, grasses, vines, ferns, and mosses. The term plant implies a taxon with characteristics of multicellularity, cell structure with walls containing cellulose, and organisms capable of photosynthesis.
Describes the number of different species that are represented in a given community or population. The effective number of species (trees, plants, mosses,...) refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in specific community or population (where all species may not be equally abundant). Species diversity consists of two components: species richness and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.
Describes the number of different species that are represented in a given community or population. The effective number of species (trees, plants, mosses,...) refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in specific community or population (where all species may not be equally abundant). Species diversity consists of two components: species richness and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.
Helge Bruelheide - Resource Concentration Hypothesis

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