To sustain 10 billion humans, we must imbue intensive agricultural monocultures with the ecosystem services once afforded by our planet’s biodiverse terrestrial habitats. Biodiversity is linked to ecosystem productivity and stability, and functional diversity may be the cause. Yet past research on biodiversity has confounded this analysis with profuse traits distinguishing species, regardless of their function. The new project group will investigate functional diversity’s role by amortizing over 300 isogenic, but functionally distinct, Nicotiana attenuata
lines created at the institute.