UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Differential effects of plant diversity on functional trait variation of grass species


Gubsch, M; Buchmann, N; Schmid, B; Schulze, E D; Lipowsky, A; Roscher, C (2011). Differential effects of plant diversity on functional trait variation of grass species. Annals of Botany, 107(1):157-169.

Abstract

Background and Aims: Functional trait differences and trait adjustment in response to influences of the biotic environment could reflect niche partitioning among species. In this study, we tested how variation in above-ground plant traits, chosen as indicators for light and nitrogen acquisition and use, differs among taxonomically closely related species (Poaceae) to assess their potential for niche segregation at increasing plant diversity.
Methods:
Traits of 12 grass species were measured in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) of varying species richness (from 1 to 60) and presence of particular functional groups (grasses, legumes, tall herbs and small herbs).
Key Results:
Grass species increased shoot and leaf length, investment into supporting tissue (stem mass fraction) and specific leaf area as well as reduced foliar d13C values with increasing species richness, indicating higher efforts
for light acquisition. These species-richness effects could in part be explained by a higher probability of legume
presence in more diverse communities. Leaf nitrogen concentrations increased and biomas s : N ratios in shoots
decreased when grasses grew with legumes, indicating an improved nitrogen nutrition. Foliar d15N values of grasses decreased when growing with legumes suggesting the use of depleted legume-derived N, while decreasing d15N values with increasing species richness indicated a shift in the uptake of different N sources. However, efforts to optimize light and nitrogen acquisition by plastic adjustment of traits in response to species richness and legume presence, varied significantly among grass species. It was possible to show further that trait adjustment of grass species increased niche segregation in more diverse plant communities but that complementarity through niche separation may differ between light and nutrient acquisition.
Conclusions:
The results suggest that even among closely related species such as grasses different strategies are used to cope with neighbours. This lack in redundancy in turn may facilitate complementary resource use and coexistence.

Background and Aims: Functional trait differences and trait adjustment in response to influences of the biotic environment could reflect niche partitioning among species. In this study, we tested how variation in above-ground plant traits, chosen as indicators for light and nitrogen acquisition and use, differs among taxonomically closely related species (Poaceae) to assess their potential for niche segregation at increasing plant diversity.
Methods:
Traits of 12 grass species were measured in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) of varying species richness (from 1 to 60) and presence of particular functional groups (grasses, legumes, tall herbs and small herbs).
Key Results:
Grass species increased shoot and leaf length, investment into supporting tissue (stem mass fraction) and specific leaf area as well as reduced foliar d13C values with increasing species richness, indicating higher efforts
for light acquisition. These species-richness effects could in part be explained by a higher probability of legume
presence in more diverse communities. Leaf nitrogen concentrations increased and biomas s : N ratios in shoots
decreased when grasses grew with legumes, indicating an improved nitrogen nutrition. Foliar d15N values of grasses decreased when growing with legumes suggesting the use of depleted legume-derived N, while decreasing d15N values with increasing species richness indicated a shift in the uptake of different N sources. However, efforts to optimize light and nitrogen acquisition by plastic adjustment of traits in response to species richness and legume presence, varied significantly among grass species. It was possible to show further that trait adjustment of grass species increased niche segregation in more diverse plant communities but that complementarity through niche separation may differ between light and nutrient acquisition.
Conclusions:
The results suggest that even among closely related species such as grasses different strategies are used to cope with neighbours. This lack in redundancy in turn may facilitate complementary resource use and coexistence.

Citations

22 citations in Web of Science®
26 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

1 download since deposited on 08 Mar 2011
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

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:Biodiversity, grasses, functional traits, Jena Experiment, legumes, redundancy, species richness, trait variation
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:08 Mar 2011 17:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:38
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0305-7364
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq220
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-43189

Download

[img]
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 294kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations