Microbe-induced phenotypic variation leads to overyielding in clonal plant populations

Waseem Raza, Gaofei Jiang, Nico Eisenhauer, Yishuo Huang, Zhong Wei*, Qirong Shen, George A. Kowalchuk, Alexandre Jousset*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Overyielding, the high productivity of multispecies plant communities, is commonly seen as the result of plant genetic diversity. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships can emerge in clonal plant populations through interaction with microorganisms. Using a model clonal plant species, we found that exposure to volatiles of certain microorganisms led to divergent plant phenotypes. Assembling communities out of plants associated with different microorganisms led to transgressive overyielding in both biomass and seed yield. Our results highlight the importance of belowground microbial diversity in plant biodiversity research and open new avenues for precision ecosystem management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-399
Number of pages8
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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