Multiple processes generate productivity–diversity relationships in experimental wood-fall communities


  • Corresponding Editor: J. F. Bruno.


Energy availability has long been recognized as a predictor of community structure, and changes in both terrestrial and marine productivity under climate change necessitate a deeper understanding of this relationship. The productivity–diversity relationship (PDR) is well explored in both empirical and theoretical work in ecology, but numerous questions remain. Here, we test four different theories for PDRs (More-Individuals Hypothesis, Resource-Ratio Theory, More Specialization Theory, and the Connectivity–Diversity Hypothesis) with experimental deep-sea wood falls. We manipulated productivity by altering wood-fall sizes and measured responses after 5 and 7 years. In November 2006, 32 Acacia sp. logs were deployed at 3203 m in the Northeast Pacific Ocean (Station Deadwood: 36.154098° N, 122.40852° W). Overall, we found a significant increase in diversity with increased wood-fall size for these communities. Increases in diversity with wood-fall size occurred because of the addition of rare species and increases of overall abundance, although individual species responses varied. We also found that limited dispersal helped maintain the positive PDR relationship. Our experiment suggests that multiple interacting mechanisms influence PDRs.