Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1080/17550874.2024.2330659
Title (Primary) Multiple global change factors cause declines of a temperate bryophyte
Author Virtanen, R.; Harpole, W.S. ORCID logo ; Dunker, S.; Eskelinen, A.
Source Titel Plant Ecology & Diversity
Year 2024
Department iDiv; PHYDIV
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords Climate change; grazing; land use; light limitation; multiple stress hypothesis; nutrient addition; transplant experiment


Climate change, nutrient enrichment and land use have been predicted to alter bryophyte abundance and performance; we expect these factors to interact, yet experiments addressing their joint effects are missing.


We tested the responses of Brachythecium rutabulum, a common temperate moss species, to single and combined effects of future climatic conditions, grazing, light limitation and nutrient enrichment. We predicted that future climatic conditions, intense grazing, light limitation and nutrient enrichment have all negative effects on the survival and photosynthetic condition of B. rutabulum, and their joint effects become strong even if individual factors have only weak effects (multiple stress hypothesis).


We measured after two growing seasons biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of transplanted moss colonies in full-factorial treatments of fertilisation, exclusion of sheep grazing and light amendment by LED lamps, replicated in ambient and future climatic conditions.


Future climate and fertilisation had negligible effects on colony biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of bryophyte colonies, whereas light amendment had positive effect on chlorophyll fluorescence and grazing exclusion had positive effect on colony biomass. Colony biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence decreased with increasing number of global change factors.


Supporting the multiple stress hypothesis, individually weak global change factors can combine to strong joint effects.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Virtanen, R., Harpole, W.S., Dunker, S., Eskelinen, A. (2024):
Multiple global change factors cause declines of a temperate bryophyte
Plant Ecol. Divers. 10.1080/17550874.2024.2330659