Out of the shadows : multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity

Harpole, W. Stanley and Sullivan, Lauren L. and Lind, Eric M. and Firn, Jennifer and Adler, Peter B. and Borer, Elizabeth T. and Chase, Jonathan and Fay, Philip A. and Hautier, Yann and Hillebrand, Helmut and MacDougall, Andrew S. and Seabloom, Eric W. and Bakker, Jonathan D. and Cadotte, Marc W. and Chaneton, Enrique J. and Chu, Chengjin and Hagenah, Nicole and Kirkman, Kevin and La Pierre, Kimberly J. and Moore, Joslin L. and Morgan, John W. and Prober, Suzanne M. and Risch, Anita C. and Schuetz, Martin and Stevens, Carly J. (2017) Out of the shadows : multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity. Functional Ecology, 31 (9). pp. 1839-1846. ISSN 0269-8463

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1. The paradigmatic hypothesis for the effect of fertilisation on plant diversity represents a one-dimensional trade-off for plants competing for below-ground nutrients ( generically) and above-ground light: fertilisation reduces competition for nutrients while increasing biomass and thereby shifts competition for depleted available light. 2. The essential problem of this simple paradigm is that it misses both the multivariate and mechanistic nature of the factors that determine biodiversity as well as their causal relationships. 3. We agree that light limitation, as DeMalach and Kadmon argue, can indeed be an important factor associated with diversity loss, and we presented it as an integral part of our tests of the niche dimension hypothesis. 4. We disagree with DeMalach and Kadmon that light is the 'main' factor explaining diversity, because this misrepresents the causal structure represented in the design of our experiment in which multiple nutrient addition was the ultimate causal driver of a suite of correlated responses that included diversity and light, and especially live and dead biomass, which are the factors that control light depletion. ]5. Our findings highlight that multiple nutrient limitations can structure plant diversity and composition independently of changes in light and biomass. For example, approximately one-third of our sites showed no significant increase in biomass with greater number of added nutrients yet still lost diversity when nutrients were added. 6. The important message is that while light limitation can be an important contributor to diversity loss, it is not a necessary mechanism.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Functional Ecology
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article Harpole, W. S., Sullivan, L. L., Lind, E. M., Firn, J., Adler, P. B., Borer, E. T., Chase, J., Fay, P. A., Hautier, Y., Hillebrand, H., MacDougall, A. S., Seabloom, E. W., Bakker, J. D., Cadotte, M. W., Chaneton, E. J., Chu, C., Hagenah, N., Kirkman, K., La Pierre, K. J., Moore, J. L., Morgan, J. W., Prober, S. M., Risch, A. C., Schuetz, M. and Stevens, C. J. (2017), Out of the shadows: multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity. Funct Ecol, 31: 1839–1846. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12967 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12967/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? biodiversitylightmultivariate causal relationshipsnutrient limitationresource limitationherbaceous vegetationgrassland diversityproductivitycompetitionecosystemscommunitynitrogenprecipitationresourcesresponsesecology, evolution, behavior and systematics ??
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Deposited On:
15 Dec 2017 16:26
Last Modified:
28 Jun 2024 00:53