Spatial heterogeneity in species composition constrains plant community responses to herbivory and fertilisation

Hodapp, Dorothee and Borer, Elizabeth T. and Harpole, W. Stanley and Lind, Eric M. and Seabloom, Eric W. and Adler, Peter B. and Alberti, Juan and Arnillas, Carlos A. and Bakker, Jonathan D. and Biederman, Lori and Cadotte, Marc and Cleland, Elsa E. and Collins, Scott and Fay, Philip A. and Firn, Jennifer and Hagenah, Nicole and Hautier, Yann and Iribarne, Oscar and Knops, Johannes M.H. and McCulley, Rebecca L. and MacDougall, Andrew and Moore, Joslin L. and Morgan, John W. and Mortensen, Brent and La Pierre, Kimberly J. and Risch, Anita C. and Schütz, Martin and Peri, Pablo and Stevens, Carly J. and Wright, Justin and Hillebrand, Helmut (2018) Spatial heterogeneity in species composition constrains plant community responses to herbivory and fertilisation. Ecology Letters, 21 (9). pp. 1364-1371. ISSN 1461-023X

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Environmental change can result in substantial shifts in community composition. The associated immigration and extinction events are likely constrained by the spatial distribution of species. Still, studies on environmental change typically quantify biotic responses at single spatial (time series within a single plot) or temporal (spatial beta diversity at single time points) scales, ignoring their potential interdependence. Here, we use data from a global network of grassland experiments to determine how turnover responses to two major forms of environmental change – fertilisation and herbivore loss – are affected by species pool size and spatial compositional heterogeneity. Fertilisation led to higher rates of local extinction, whereas turnover in herbivore exclusion plots was driven by species replacement. Overall, sites with more spatially heterogeneous composition showed significantly higher rates of annual turnover, independent of species pool size and treatment. Taking into account spatial biodiversity aspects will therefore improve our understanding of consequences of global and anthropogenic change on community dynamics.

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Journal Article
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Ecology Letters
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hodapp, D., Borer, E.T., Harpole, W.S., Lind, E.M., Seabloom, E.W., Adler, P.B., Alberti, J., Arnillas, C.A., Bakker, J.D., Biederman, L., Cadotte, M., Cleland, E.E., Collins, S., Fay, P.A., Firn, J., Hagenah, N., Hautier, Y., Iribarne, O., Knops, J.M.H., McCulley, R.L., MacDougall, A., Moore, J.L., Morgan, J.W., Mortensen, B., La Pierre, K.J., Risch, A.C., Schütz, M., Peri, P., Stevens, C.J., Wright, J. and Hillebrand, H. (2018), Spatial heterogeneity in species composition constrains plant community responses to herbivory and fertilisation. Ecol Lett, 21: 1364-1371. doi:10.1111/ele.13102 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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05 May 2020 08:45
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 04:33