University of Oulu

Ebeling, A., Strauss, A. T., Adler, P. B., Arnillas, C. A., Barrio, I. C., Biederman, L. A., Borer, E. T., Bugalho, M. N., Caldeira, M. C., Cadotte, M. W., Daleo, P., Eisenhauer, N., Eskelinen, A., Fay, P. A., Firn, J., Graff, P., Hagenah, N., Haider, S., Komatsu, K. J., … Blumenthal, D. M. (2022). Nutrient enrichment increases invertebrate herbivory and pathogen damage in grasslands. Journal of Ecology, 110, 327– 339.

Nutrient enrichment increases invertebrate herbivory and pathogen damage in grasslands

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Author: Ebeling, Anne1; Strauss, Alex T.2,3; Adler, Peter B.4;
Organizations: 1Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Jena, Jena, Germany
2Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
3Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
4Department of Wildland Resources and the Ecology Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
5Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto—Scarborough, Toronto, ON, Canada
6Faculty of Environmental and Forest Sciences, Agricultural University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
7Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
8Centre for Applied Ecology (CEABN-InBIO), School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
9Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
10Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto—Scarborough, Toronto, ON, Canada
11Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, CONICET—UNMDP, Mar del Plata, Argentina
12German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
13Institute of Biology, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
14Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
15Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
16USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Temple, TX, USA
17Centre for the Environment, School of Biology and Environmental Science, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD, Australia
18Facultad de Agronomía, IFEVA-CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
19Department of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
20School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville, South Africa
21Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
22Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, USA
23Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
24Department of Biology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
25School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Vic, Australia
26Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz, Argentina
27Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Autral (UNPA-CONICET), Santa Cruz, Argentina
28Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia
29CSIRO Land and Water, Wembley, Australia
30Community Ecology, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
31National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bengaluru, India
32School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
33Laboratorio Ecotono, Iniboma (CONICET-UNCO), Bariloche, Argentina
34USDA-ARS, Rangeland Resources & Systems Research Unit, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-08


1.Plant damage by invertebrate herbivores and pathogens influences the dynamics of grassland ecosystems, but anthropogenic changes in nitrogen and phosphorus availability can modify these relationships.

2.Using a globally distributed experiment, we describe leaf damage on 153 plant taxa from 27 grasslands worldwide, under ambient conditions and with experimentally elevated nitrogen and phosphorus.

3.Invertebrate damage significantly increased with nitrogen addition, especially in grasses and non-leguminous forbs. Pathogen damage increased with nitrogen in grasses and legumes but not forbs. Effects of phosphorus were generally weaker. Damage was higher in grasslands with more precipitation, but climatic conditions did not change effects of nutrients on leaf damage. On average, invertebrate damage was relatively higher on legumes and pathogen damage was relatively higher on grasses. Community-weighted mean damage reflected these functional group patterns, with no effects of N on community-weighted pathogen damage (due to opposing responses of grasses and forbs) but stronger effects of N on community-weighted invertebrate damage (due to consistent responses of grasses and forbs).

4.Synthesis: As human-induced inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus continue to increase, understanding their impacts on invertebrate and pathogen damage becomes increasingly important. Our results demonstrate that eutrophication frequently increases plant damage and that damage increases with precipitation across a wide array of grasslands. Invertebrate and pathogen damage in grasslands is likely to increase in the future, with potential consequences for plant, invertebrate and pathogen communities, as well as the transfer of energy and nutrients across trophic levels.

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Series: Journal of ecology
ISSN: 0022-0477
ISSN-E: 1365-2745
ISSN-L: 0022-0477
Volume: 110
Issue: 2
Pages: 327 - 339
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13801
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was conducted using data from the NutNet collabora-tive experiment, funded at the site scale by individual research-ers. Coordination and data management have been supported by funding to E.B. and E.S. from the National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network (NSF-DEB-1042132) and Long Term Ecological Research (NSF-DEB-1234162 to Cedar Creek LTER) programmes, and the Institute on the Environment (DG-0001-13).
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.