Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.ppees.2013.02.004
Title (Primary) A functional trait-based approach to understand community assembly and diversity–productivity relationships over 7 years in experimental grasslands
Author Roscher, C.; Schumacher, J.; Lipowsky, A.; Gubsch, M.; Weigelt, A.; Pompe, S.; Kolle, O.; Buchmann, N.; Schmid, B.; Schulze, E.-D.
Source Titel Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
Year 2013
Department BZF
Volume 15
Issue 3
Page From 139
Page To 149
Language englisch
Keywords Biomass production; Community mean traits; Environmental filtering; Functional diversity; Niche differentiation; Species identity
UFZ wide themes RU1;
Abstract Several multi-year biodiversity experiments have shown positive species richness–productivity relationships which strengthen over time, but the mechanisms which control productivity are not well understood. We used experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) with mixtures containing different numbers of species (4, 8, 16 and 60) and plant functional groups (1–4; grasses, legumes, small herbs, tall herbs) to explore patterns of variation in functional trait composition as well as climatic variables as predictors for community biomass production across several years (from 2003 to 2009). Over this time span, high community mean trait values shifted from the dominance of trait values associated with fast growth to trait values suggesting a conservation of growth-related resources and successful reproduction. Increasing between-community convergence in means of several productivity-related traits indicated that environmental filtering and exclusion of competitively weaker species played a role during community assembly. A general trend for increasing functional trait diversity within and convergence among communities suggested niche differentiation through limiting similarity in the longer term and that similar mechanisms operated in communities sown with different diversity. Community biomass production was primarily explained by a few key mean traits (tall growth, large seed mass and leaf nitrogen concentration) and to a smaller extent by functional diversity in nitrogen acquisition strategies, functional richness in multiple traits and functional evenness in light-acquisition traits. Increasing species richness, presence of an exceptionally productive legume species (Onobrychis viciifolia) and climatic variables explained an additional proportion of variation in community biomass. In general, community biomass production decreased through time, but communities with higher functional richness in multiple traits had high productivities over several years. Our results suggest that assembly processes within communities with an artificially maintained species composition maximize functional diversity through niche differentiation and exclusion of weaker competitors, thereby maintaining their potential for high productivity.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Roscher, C., Schumacher, J., Lipowsky, A., Gubsch, M., Weigelt, A., Pompe, S., Kolle, O., Buchmann, N., Schmid, B., Schulze, E.-D. (2013):
A functional trait-based approach to understand community assembly and diversity–productivity relationships over 7 years in experimental grasslands
Perspect. Plant Ecol. Evol. Syst. 15 (3), 139 - 149 10.1016/j.ppees.2013.02.004