The Effects of Phylogenetic Diversity on Temporal Stability of Community Biomass
Mentor:Lin Jiang, Associate Professor of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology
Much work has been done to answer the question of biodiversity’s effect on the functionality of an ecosystem. The objective of this study is to investigate whether phylogenetic diversity has an effect on overall community stability, using bacterivorous protists as model organisms. To this end, I constructed 2- or 3-species protist communities that differed in phylogenetic diversity, subjected them to a short-term disturbance of high temperature stress at weekly intervals, and followed community dynamics over time. There have been indications of some trend between phylogenetic diversity and community biomass temporal stability and some significant data to validate our hypothesis. Significant differences in temporal stability occurred at the community level. Population level stability results were insignificant. These results suggest that there could be a positive relationship between phylogenetic diversity and temporal stability biomass.