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[CO2]- and density-dependent competition between grassland species


van Kleunen, M; Stephan, M A; Schmid, B (2006). [CO2]- and density-dependent competition between grassland species. Global Change Biology, 12(11):2175-2186.

Abstract

The predicted ongoing increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is considered to be one of the main threats to biodiversity due to potential changes in biotic interactions. We tested whether effects of intra- and interspecific planting density of the calcareous grassland perennials Bromus erectus and Carex flacca change in response to elevated [CO2] (600 ppm) by using factorial combinations of seven densities (0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24 tillers per 8 × 8 cm2 cell) of both species in plots with and without CO2 enrichment. Although aboveground biomass of C. flacca was increased by 54% under elevated [CO2], the combined aboveground biomass of the whole stand was not significantly increased. C. flacca tended to produce more tillers under elevated [CO2] while B. erectus produced less tillers. The positive effect of [CO2] on the number of tillers of C. flacca was strongest at high intraspecific densities. On the other hand, the negative effect of [CO2] on the number of tillers of B. erectus was not present at intermediate intraspecific planting densities. Seed production of C. flacca was more than doubled under elevated [CO2], while seed production of B. erectus was not affected. Moreover, the mass per seed of C. flacca was increased by elevated [CO2] at intermediate interspecific planting densities while the mass per seed of B. erectus was decreased by elevated [CO2] at high interspecific planting densities. Our results show that the responses of C. flacca and B. erectus to elevated [CO2] depend in a complex way on initial planting densities of both species. In other words, competition between these two model species is both [CO2]- and density dependent. On average, however, the effects of [CO2] on the individual species indicate that the composition of calcareous grasslands is likely to change under elevated [CO2] in favor of C. flacca.

The predicted ongoing increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is considered to be one of the main threats to biodiversity due to potential changes in biotic interactions. We tested whether effects of intra- and interspecific planting density of the calcareous grassland perennials Bromus erectus and Carex flacca change in response to elevated [CO2] (600 ppm) by using factorial combinations of seven densities (0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24 tillers per 8 × 8 cm2 cell) of both species in plots with and without CO2 enrichment. Although aboveground biomass of C. flacca was increased by 54% under elevated [CO2], the combined aboveground biomass of the whole stand was not significantly increased. C. flacca tended to produce more tillers under elevated [CO2] while B. erectus produced less tillers. The positive effect of [CO2] on the number of tillers of C. flacca was strongest at high intraspecific densities. On the other hand, the negative effect of [CO2] on the number of tillers of B. erectus was not present at intermediate intraspecific planting densities. Seed production of C. flacca was more than doubled under elevated [CO2], while seed production of B. erectus was not affected. Moreover, the mass per seed of C. flacca was increased by elevated [CO2] at intermediate interspecific planting densities while the mass per seed of B. erectus was decreased by elevated [CO2] at high interspecific planting densities. Our results show that the responses of C. flacca and B. erectus to elevated [CO2] depend in a complex way on initial planting densities of both species. In other words, competition between these two model species is both [CO2]- and density dependent. On average, however, the effects of [CO2] on the individual species indicate that the composition of calcareous grasslands is likely to change under elevated [CO2] in favor of C. flacca.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:biotic interactions, calcareous grassland, carbon dioxide, clonal growth, competition, global change
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:21
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1354-1013
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01248.x
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2115

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