A slow-fast trait continuum at the whole community level in relation to land-use intensification

Margot Neyret, Gaëtane Le Provost, Andrea Larissa Boesing, Florian D. Schneider, Dennis Baulechner, Joana Bergmann, Franciska T. de Vries, Anna Maria Fiore-Donno, Stefan Geisen, Kezia Goldmann, Anna Merges, Ruslan A. Saifutdinov, Nadja K. Simons, Joseph A. Tobias, Andrey S. Zaitsev, Martin M. Gossner, Kirsten Jung, Ellen Kandeler, Jochen Krauss, Caterina PenoneMichael Schloter, Stefanie Schulz, Michael Staab, Volkmar Wolters, Antonios Apostolakis, Klaus Birkhofer, Steffen Boch, Runa S. Boeddinghaus, Ralph Bolliger, Michael Bonkowski, François Buscot, Kenneth Dumack, Markus Fischer, Huei Ying Gan, Johannes Heinze, Norbert Hölzel, Katharina John, Valentin H. Klaus, Till Kleinebecker, Sven Marhan, Jörg Müller, Swen C. Renner, Matthias C. Rillig, Noëlle V. Schenk, Ingo Schöning, Marion Schrumpf, Sebastian Seibold, Stephanie A. Socher, Emily F. Solly, Miriam Teuscher, Mark van Kleunen, Tesfaye Wubet, Peter Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organismal functional strategies form a continuum from slow- to fast-growing organisms, in response to common drivers such as resource availability and disturbance. However, whether there is synchronisation of these strategies at the entire community level is unclear. Here, we combine trait data for >2800 above- and belowground taxa from 14 trophic guilds spanning a disturbance and resource availability gradient in German grasslands. The results indicate that most guilds consistently respond to these drivers through both direct and trophically mediated effects, resulting in a ‘slow-fast’ axis at the level of the entire community. Using 15 indicators of carbon and nutrient fluxes, biomass production and decomposition, we also show that fast trait communities are associated with faster rates of ecosystem functioning. These findings demonstrate that ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ strategies can be manifested at the level of whole communities, opening new avenues of ecosystem-level functional classification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1251
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


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