Resource allocation to reproduction is a critical trait for plant fitness. This trait, called harvest index in the agricultural context, determines how plant biomass is converted to seed yield and consequently financial revenue of numerous major staple crops. While plant diversity has been demonstrated to increase plant biomass, plant diversity effects on seed yield of crops are ambiguous. This discrepancy could be explained through changes in the proportion of resources invested into reproduction in response to changes in plant diversity, namely through changes of species interactions and microenvironmental conditions. Here we show that increasing crop plant diversity from monoculture over 2- to 4-species mixtures increased annual primary productivity, resulting in overall higher plant biomass and, to a lesser extent, higher seed yield in mixtures compared with monocultures. The difference between the two responses to diversity was due to a reduced reproductive effort of the eight tested crop species in mixtures, possibly because their common cultivars have been bred for maximum performance in monoculture. While crop diversification provides a sustainable measure of agricultural intensification, the use of currently available cultivars may compromise larger gains in seed yield. We therefore advocate regional breeding programs for crop varieties to be used in mixtures that should exploit facilitative interactions among crop species. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 377 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 101,719
- In ecology: 2,855
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 102,297
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 73,494
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!