Research ArticleECOLOGY

Ozone affects plant, insect, and soil microbial communities: A threat to terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity

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Science Advances  12 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 33, eabc1176
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc1176

Abstract

Elevated tropospheric ozone concentrations induce adverse effects in plants. We reviewed how ozone affects (i) the composition and diversity of plant communities by affecting key physiological traits; (ii) foliar chemistry and the emission of volatiles, thereby affecting plant-plant competition, plant-insect interactions, and the composition of insect communities; and (iii) plant-soil-microbe interactions and the composition of soil communities by disrupting plant litterfall and altering root exudation, soil enzymatic activities, decomposition, and nutrient cycling. The community composition of soil microbes is consequently changed, and alpha diversity is often reduced. The effects depend on the environment and vary across space and time. We suggest that Atlantic islands in the Northern Hemisphere, the Mediterranean Basin, equatorial Africa, Ethiopia, the Indian coastline, the Himalayan region, southern Asia, and Japan have high endemic richness at high ozone risk by 2100.

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