A decade of insights into grassland ecosystem responses to global environmental change

Nature Ecology & Evolution
By: , and 

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Abstract

Earth’s biodiversity and carbon uptake by plants, or primary productivity, are intricately interlinked, underlie many essential ecosystem processes, and depend on the interplay among environmental factors, many of which are being changed by human activities. While ecological theory generalizes across taxa and environments, most empirical tests of factors controlling diversity and productivity have been observational, single-site experiments, or meta-analyses, limiting our understanding of variation among site-level responses and tests of general mechanisms. A synthesis of results from ten years of a globally distributed, coordinated experiment, the Nutrient Network (NutNet), demonstrates that species diversity promotes ecosystem productivity and stability, and that nutrient supply and herbivory control diversity via changes in composition, including invasions of non-native species and extinction of native species. Distributed experimental networks are a powerful tool for tests and integration of multiple theories and for generating multivariate predictions about the effects of global changes on future ecosystems.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A decade of insights into grassland ecosystem responses to global environmental change
Series title Nature Ecology & Evolution
DOI 10.1038/s41559-017-0118
Volume 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description Article 0118