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Nutrients and herbivores impact grassland stability across multiple spatial scales through different pathways
  • +19
  • Q. Q. Chen,
  • Shaopeng Wang,
  • Eric Seabloom,
  • Andrew MacDougall,
  • Elizabeth Borer,
  • Jonathan Bakker,
  • Ian Donohue,
  • Johannes Knops,
  • John Morgan,
  • Oliver Carroll,
  • Michael Crawley,
  • Miguel Bugalho,
  • Sally A Power,
  • Anu Eskelinen,
  • Risto Virtanen,
  • Anita Risch,
  • Martin Schuetz,
  • Carly Stevens,
  • Maria Caldeira,
  • Sumanta Bagchi,
  • Juan Alberti,
  • Yann Hautier
Q. Q. Chen
Peking University
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Shaopeng Wang
Peking University
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Eric Seabloom
University of Minnesota
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Andrew MacDougall
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Elizabeth Borer
University of Minnesota
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Jonathan Bakker
University of Washington
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Ian Donohue
Trinity College Dublin
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Johannes Knops
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
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John Morgan
La Trobe University
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Oliver Carroll
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Michael Crawley
Imperial College
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Miguel Bugalho
University of Lisbon Centre for Applied Ecology Prof Baeta Neves
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Sally A Power
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Anu Eskelinen
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
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Risto Virtanen
University of Oulu
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Anita Risch
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research
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Martin Schuetz
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research
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Carly Stevens
Lancaster University
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Maria Caldeira
University of Lisbon
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Sumanta Bagchi
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Juan Alberti
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC; UNMDP-CONICET)
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Yann Hautier
University of Minnesota
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Abstract

Nutrients and herbivores have independent effects on the temporal stability of aboveground biomass in grasslands; however, their joint effects may not be additive and may also depend on spatial scales. In an experiment adding nutrients and excluding herbivores in 34 globally distributed grasslands, we found that nutrients and herbivores mainly had additive effects. Nutrient addition consistently reduced stability at the local and larger spatial scales (aggregated local communities), while herbivore exclusion weakly reduced stability at these scales. Moreover, nutrient addition reduced stability primarily by causing changes in local community composition over time and by reducing local species richness and evenness. In contrast, herbivore exclusion weakly reduced stability at the larger scale mainly by decreasing asynchronous dynamics among local communities, but also by weakly decreasing local species richness. Our findings indicate disentangling the influences of processes operating at different spatial scales may improve conservation and management in stabilizing grassland biomass.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

11 Apr 2021Submitted to Ecology Letters
12 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
12 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
16 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned