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Linking changes in species composition and biomass in a globally distributed grassland experiment

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posted on 2023-07-04, 05:38 authored by E Ladouceur, SA Blowes, JM Chase, AT Clark, M Garbowski, J Alberti, CA Arnillas, JD Bakker, IC Barrio, S Bharath, ET Borer, LA Brudvig, MW Cadotte, Q Chen, SL Collins, CR Dickman, I Donohue, G Du, A Ebeling, N Eisenhauer, PA Fay, N Hagenah, Y Hautier, A Jentsch, IS Jónsdóttir, K Komatsu, A MacDougall, JP Martina, JL Moore, John MorganJohn Morgan, PL Peri, S Power, Z Ren, AC Risch, C Roscher, M Schuchardt, EW Seabloom, CJ Stevens, GF Veen, R Virtanen, GM Wardle, PA Wilfahrt, WS Harpole
Global change drivers, such as anthropogenic nutrient inputs, are increasing globally. Nutrient deposition simultaneously alters plant biodiversity, species composition and ecosystem processes like aboveground biomass production. These changes are underpinned by species extinction, colonisation and shifting relative abundance. Here, we use the Price equation to quantify and link the contributions of species that are lost, gained or that persist to change in aboveground biomass in 59 experimental grassland sites. Under ambient (control) conditions, compositional and biomass turnover was high, and losses (i.e. local extinctions) were balanced by gains (i.e. colonisation). Under fertilisation, the decline in species richness resulted from increased species loss and decreases in species gained. Biomass increase under fertilisation resulted mostly from species that persist and to a lesser extent from species gained. Drivers of ecological change can interact relatively independently with diversity, composition and ecosystem processes and functions such as aboveground biomass due to the individual contributions of species lost, gained or persisting.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Grant/Award Number: DFG-FZT 118 and 202548816; National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research, Grant/Award Number: NSF-DEB-1234162 & DEB-1831944 to Cedar Creek LTER; National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network, Grant/Award Number: NSF-DEB-1042132; University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, Grant/Award Number: DG-0001-13; National Science Foundation; University of Minnesota; Research Foundation; Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.


Publication Date



Ecology Letters






(p. 2699-2712)





Rights Statement

© 2022 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.