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Species richness and identity affect the use of aboveground space in experimental grasslands


Lorentzen, S; Roscher, C; Schumacher, J; Schulze, E D; Schmid, B (2008). Species richness and identity affect the use of aboveground space in experimental grasslands. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 10(2):73-87.

Abstract

Complementary resource use is regarded as a mechanism that contributes to positive relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here, we used a biodiversity experiment composed of nine potentially dominant species (grasses: Alopecurus pratensis, Arrhenatherum elatius, Dactylis glomerata, Phleum pratense, Poa trivialis; legumes: Trifolium pratense, T. repens; non-legume herbs: Anthriscus sylvestris, Geranium pratense) to test for differences among monocultures and mixtures and for effects of species richness and the presence of particular species on the use of aboveground space. The number of rooting shoots determined in a line transect increased from monocultures to mixtures. Particularly, the presence of A. elatius in mixtures caused a higher shoot density at the community level. The number of pin contacts per sampling point (cumulative cover) at the community level, analysed with the point intercept method, was higher in mixtures than monocultures, and higher in mixtures with than without A. elatius. The effect was attributable to increased densities across the strata of the vertical stand profile as well as to an increase in community height. The impact of species richness on the use of aboveground space differed considerably between individual species. A. elatius achieved increased densities across all strata of the stand profile, while D. glomerata reached higher densities with a more pronounced use of space in the upper strata with increasing species richness of mixtures. Cumulative cover of P. pratense and A. pratensis was not affected by species richness, while the remaining species decreased space use mostly in the upper strata with increasing species richness or in mixtures with the competitively superior A. elatius. Our study shows that potentially dominant species are limited in their ability for adaptive responses to canopy shading. Nevertheless, the differential responses to species richness of individual species with regard to vertical niche occupation resulted in positive diversity effects on aboveground space use at the community level.

Complementary resource use is regarded as a mechanism that contributes to positive relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here, we used a biodiversity experiment composed of nine potentially dominant species (grasses: Alopecurus pratensis, Arrhenatherum elatius, Dactylis glomerata, Phleum pratense, Poa trivialis; legumes: Trifolium pratense, T. repens; non-legume herbs: Anthriscus sylvestris, Geranium pratense) to test for differences among monocultures and mixtures and for effects of species richness and the presence of particular species on the use of aboveground space. The number of rooting shoots determined in a line transect increased from monocultures to mixtures. Particularly, the presence of A. elatius in mixtures caused a higher shoot density at the community level. The number of pin contacts per sampling point (cumulative cover) at the community level, analysed with the point intercept method, was higher in mixtures than monocultures, and higher in mixtures with than without A. elatius. The effect was attributable to increased densities across the strata of the vertical stand profile as well as to an increase in community height. The impact of species richness on the use of aboveground space differed considerably between individual species. A. elatius achieved increased densities across all strata of the stand profile, while D. glomerata reached higher densities with a more pronounced use of space in the upper strata with increasing species richness of mixtures. Cumulative cover of P. pratense and A. pratensis was not affected by species richness, while the remaining species decreased space use mostly in the upper strata with increasing species richness or in mixtures with the competitively superior A. elatius. Our study shows that potentially dominant species are limited in their ability for adaptive responses to canopy shading. Nevertheless, the differential responses to species richness of individual species with regard to vertical niche occupation resulted in positive diversity effects on aboveground space use at the community level.

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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)
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:26 Aug 2008 08:56
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:25
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1433-8319
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.ppees.2007.12.001
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2936

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