Database & synthesis

Prof. Dr. Nico Eisenhauer, Leipzig, Germany
Dr. habil. Anne Ebeling, Jena, Germany
Dr. Anna Heintz-Buschart, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Holger Schielzeth, Jena, Germany

This subproject has two overarching goals with a focus on data management and synthesis. First, we propose continuing to promote open science, implement FAIR principles, and train the next generation of researchers with best scientific practices to managing research data. We will focus on creating a general workflow for checking data quality and preparing R scripts for publication. With the existing database, good metadata schemata and data structures, we would like to further compile synthesis datasets and make them available to the public. The data management-related work packages will focus on three aspects: (1.1) Providing services to other subprojects, that is, curating datasets and ensuring high quality data archiving in JEXIS, compiling the dataset for synthesis work. (1.2) Offer courses, workshops, and consultations on data management and statistical analyses for PhD students and postdocs in the Jena Experiment. (1.3) Publish datasets and code in data journals, as well as in scientific research journals to increase our visibility.

In addition to these database- and service-oriented goals, we propose to lead cutting-edge synthesis projects within the Jena Experiment and beyond. We propose to use the long-term data of the world’s longest-running biodiversity experiments, Jena (Main, Dominance TBE) and Cedar Creek (BioDIV, BioCON), to (2.1) assess plant species or functional group interactions and effects on ecosystem stability using diversity-interaction modeling, (2.2) identify plant species traits that promote population and community stability, and (2.3) predict long-term multifunctional stability and resistance and study relationships among multifunctional stability facets. These experiments are uniquely designed to determine the causal effects of plant species (or functional groups or traits) on ecosystem functioning and stability, because these experiments rigorously control for the responses of species to environmental heterogeneity, thereby isolating the causal effects of species (groups/traits) on ecosystem functioning and stability. Given that different types of species contribute to ecosystem functioning during different years and under different environmental conditions, long-term biodiversity experiments that include monocultures and mixtures are critically important for identifying the types of species that regulate ecosystem functioning and stability in a comprehensive and predictive manner. Next, we propose to analyze (3.1) how the covariance of ecosystem functions and (3.2) the accumulation of consumer species contribute to spatial and temporal ecosystem stability using a multitrophic approach. Finally, we propose to perform cross-kingdom synthesis of soil microbial communities in the Jena Experiment. Specifically, we plan to analyze (4.1) temporal aspects of plant diversity effects on the trait space of microbial communities and (4.2) the spatial stratification of plant diversity effects on microbial communities.