Dispersal and seed limitation affect diversity and productivity of montane grasslands

Stein, Claudia; Auge, Harald; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Prati, Daniel (2008). Dispersal and seed limitation affect diversity and productivity of montane grasslands. Oikos, 117(10), pp. 1469-1478. Oxford: Blackwell 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2008.16766.x

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So far, seed limitation as a local process, and dispersal limitation as a regional process have been largely neglected in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. However, these processes can influence both local plant species diversity and ecosystem processes, such as biomass production. We added seeds of 60 species from the regional species pool to grassland communities at 20 montane grassland sites in Germany. In these sites, plant species diversity ranged from 10 to 34 species m(-2) and, before manipulation, diversity was not related to aboveground biomass, which ranged from 108 to 687 g m(-2). One year after seed addition, local plant species richness had increased on average by six species m(-2) (29%) compared with control plots, and this increase was highest in grasslands with intermediate productivity. The increased diversity after adding seeds was associated with an average increase of aboveground biomass of 36 g m(-2) (14.8%) compared with control plots. Thus, our results demonstrate that a positive relationship between changes in species richness and productivity, as previously reported from experimental plant communities, also holds for natural grassland ecosystems. Our results show that local plant communities are dispersal limited and a hump-shaped model appears to be the limiting outline of the natural diversity-productivity relationship. Hence, the effects of dispersal on local diversity can substantially affect the functioning of natural ecosystems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Markus and Prati, Daniel

ISSN:

0030-1299

Publisher:

Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:08

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2014 14:49

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/j.0030-1299.2008.16766.x

Web of Science ID:

000259351700005

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/30131 (FactScience: 172077)

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