Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

Borer, Elizabeth T., Seabloom, Eric W., Gruner, Daniel S., Harpole, W. Stanley, Hillebrand, Helmut, Lind, Eric M., Adler, Peter B., Alberti, Juan, Anderson, T. Michael, Bakker, Jonathan D., Biederman, Lori, Blumenthal, Dana, Brown, Cynthia S., Brudvig, Lars A., Buckley, Yvonne M., Cadotte, Marc, Chu, Chengjin, Cleland, Elsa E., Crawley, Michael J., Daleo, Pedro, Damschen, Ellen I., Davies, Kendi F., DeCrappeo, Nicole M., Du, Guozhen, Firn, Jennifer, Hautier, Yann, Heckman, Robert W., Hector, Andy, HilleRisLambers, Janneke, Iribarne, Oscar, Klein, Julia A., Knops, Johannes M. H., La Pierre, Kimberly J., Leakey, Andrew D. B., Li, Wei, MacDougall, Andrew S., McCulley, Rebecca L., Melbourne, Brett A., Mitchell, Charles E., Moore, Joslin L., Mortensen, Brent, O'Halloran, Lydia R., Orrock, John L., Pascual, Jesus, Prober, Suzanne M., Pyke, David A., Risch, Anita C., Schuetz, Martin, Smith, Melinda D., Stevens, Carly J., Sullivan, Lauren L., Williams, Ryan J., Wragg, Peter D., Wright, Justin P. and Yang, Louie H. (2014) Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature, 508 7497: 517-520. doi:10.1038/nature13144

Author Borer, Elizabeth T.
Seabloom, Eric W.
Gruner, Daniel S.
Harpole, W. Stanley
Hillebrand, Helmut
Lind, Eric M.
Adler, Peter B.
Alberti, Juan
Anderson, T. Michael
Bakker, Jonathan D.
Biederman, Lori
Blumenthal, Dana
Brown, Cynthia S.
Brudvig, Lars A.
Buckley, Yvonne M.
Cadotte, Marc
Chu, Chengjin
Cleland, Elsa E.
Crawley, Michael J.
Daleo, Pedro
Damschen, Ellen I.
Davies, Kendi F.
DeCrappeo, Nicole M.
Du, Guozhen
Firn, Jennifer
Hautier, Yann
Heckman, Robert W.
Hector, Andy
HilleRisLambers, Janneke
Iribarne, Oscar
Klein, Julia A.
Knops, Johannes M. H.
La Pierre, Kimberly J.
Leakey, Andrew D. B.
Li, Wei
MacDougall, Andrew S.
McCulley, Rebecca L.
Melbourne, Brett A.
Mitchell, Charles E.
Moore, Joslin L.
Mortensen, Brent
O'Halloran, Lydia R.
Orrock, John L.
Pascual, Jesus
Prober, Suzanne M.
Pyke, David A.
Risch, Anita C.
Schuetz, Martin
Smith, Melinda D.
Stevens, Carly J.
Sullivan, Lauren L.
Williams, Ryan J.
Wragg, Peter D.
Wright, Justin P.
Yang, Louie H.
Title Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation
Journal name Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1476-4687
Publication date 2014-04-24
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature13144
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 508
Issue 7497
Start page 517
End page 520
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Abstract Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID NSF-DEB-1042132
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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