University of Oulu

Eskelinen, A., Gravuer, K., Harpole, S., Harrison, S., Virtanen, R., and Hautier, Y.. 2020. Resource‐enhancing global changes drive a whole‐ecosystem shift to faster cycling but decrease diversity. Ecology 101( 12):e03178. 10.1002/ecy.3178

Resource‐enhancing global changes drive a whole‐ecosystem shift to faster cycling but decrease diversity

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Author: Eskelinen, Anu1,2,3; Gravuer, Kelly4; Harpole, W Stanley1,2,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
2German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
3Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Graduate Group in Ecology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California - Davis, Davis, California 95616 USA
5Institute of Biology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
6Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, California 95616 USA
7Ecology and Biodiversity Group, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-12-09


Many global changes take the form of resource enhancements that have potential to transform multiple aspects of ecosystems from slower to faster cycling, including a suite of both above‐ and belowground variables. We developed a novel analytic approach to measure integrated ecosystem responses to resource‐enhancing global changes, and how such whole ecosystem slow‐to‐fast transitions are linked to diversity and exotic invasions in real‐world ecosystems. We asked how 5‐yr experimental rainfall and nutrient enhancements in a natural grassland system affected 16 ecosystem functions, pools, and stoichiometry variables considered to indicate slow vs. fast cycling. We combined these metrics into a novel index we termed “slow‐fast multifunctionality” and assessed its relationship to plant community diversity and exotic plant dominance. Nutrient and rainfall addition interacted to affect average slow‐fast multifunctionality. Nutrient addition alone pushed the system toward faster cycling, but this effect weakened with the joint addition of rainfall and nutrients. Variables associated with soil nutrient pools and cycling most strongly contributed to this antagonistic interaction. Nutrient and water addition together, respectively, had additive or synergistic effects on plant trait composition and productivity, demonstrating divergence of above‐ and belowground ecosystem responses. Our novel metric of faster cycling was strongly associated with decreased plant species richness and increased exotic species dominance. These results demonstrate the breadth of interacting community and ecosystem changes that ensue when resource limitation is relaxed.

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Series: Ecology
ISSN: 0012-9658
ISSN-E: 1939-9170
ISSN-L: 0012-9658
Volume: 101
Issue: 12
Article number: e03178
DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3178
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was funded by Academy of Finland (projects 253385 and 297191) to A. Eskelinen, and by a Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant from the University of California Natural Reserve System, an EPA STAR Graduate Research Fellowship (FP‐91770601), and an ARCS Foundation of Northern California Scholarship to K. Gravuer. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 253385
Detailed Information: 253385 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
297191 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: Supporting information:
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Ecological Society of America. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.