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Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1038/nplants.2016.224
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Title (Primary) Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands
Author Ceulemans, T.; Bodé, S.; Bollyn, J.; Harpole, S. ORCID logo ; Coorevits, K.; Peeters, G.; Van Acker, K.; Smolders, E.; Boeckx, P.; Honnay, O.
Source Titel Nature Plants
Year 2017
Department iDiv; PHYDIV
Volume 3
Page From art. 16224
Language englisch
UFZ wide themes RU1
Abstract Species diversity is commonly hypothesized to result from trade-offs for different limiting resources, providing separate niches for coexisting species(1-4). As soil nutrients occur in multiple chemical forms, plant differences in acquisition of the same element derived from different compounds may represent unique niche dimensions(5,6). Because plant productivity of ecosystems is often limited by phosphorus(7), and because plants have evolved diverse adaptations to acquire soil phosphorus(6,8), a promising yet untested hypothesis is phosphorus resource partitioning(6,9,10). Here, we provided two different chemical forms of phosphorus to sown grassland mesocosms to investigate phosphorus acquisition of eight plant species that are common in European grasslands, and to identify subsequent patterns of plant abundance. For the first time, we show that the relative abundance of grassland plant species can be influenced by soil phosphorus forms, as higher abundance was linked to higher acquisition of a specific form of phosphorus. These results were supported by a subsequent isotope dilution experiment using intact grassland sods that were treated with different inorganic or organic phosphorus forms. Here, 5 out of 14 species showed greater phosphorus acquisition in the inorganic phosphorus treatment, and 4 in the organic phosphorus treatments. Furthermore, for the species used in both experiments we found similar acquisition patterns. Our results support the hypothesis of phosphorus resource partitioning and may provide a new mechanistic framework to explain high plant diversity in phosphorus-poor ecosystems(6,11-13). As world biodiversity hotspots are almost invariably related to phosphorus limitation(8,11,12), our results may thus also be key to understanding biodiversity loss in an era of ever-increasing nutrient enrichment(14).
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Ceulemans, T., Bodé, S., Bollyn, J., Harpole, S., Coorevits, K., Peeters, G., Van Acker, K., Smolders, E., Boeckx, P., Honnay, O. (2017):
Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands
Nat. Plants 3 , art. 16224 10.1038/nplants.2016.224