University of Oulu

Pichon, N.A., Kaarlejärvi, E. & Eskelinen, A. (2023) Seed limitation interacts with biotic and abiotic factors to constrain novel species' impact on community biomass and richness. Ecology Letters, 26, 908–918. Available from:

Seed limitation interacts with biotic and abiotic factors to constrain novel species’ impact on community biomass and richness

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Author: Pichon, Noémie A.1,2; Kaarlejärvi, Elina3; Eskelinen, Anu1,4,5
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2WSL Swiss Federal Research Institute, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Research Centre for Ecological Change, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Physiological Diversity Department, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
5German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv, Leipzig, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-18


Seed limitation can narrow down the number of coexisting plant species, limit plant community productivity, and also constrain community responses to changing environmental and biotic conditions. In a 10-year full-factorial experiment of seed addition, fertilisation, warming and herbivore exclusion, we tested how seed addition alters community richness and biomass, and how its effects depend on seed origin and biotic and abiotic context. We found that seed addition increased species richness in all treatments, and increased plant community biomass depending on nutrient addition and warming. Novel species, originally absent from the communities, increased biomass the most, especially in fertilised plots and in the absence of herbivores, while adding seeds of local species did not affect biomass. Our results show that seed limitation constrains both community richness and biomass, and highlight the importance of considering trophic interactions and soil nutrients when assessing novel species immigrations and their effects on community biomass.

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Series: Ecology letters
ISSN: 1461-023X
ISSN-E: 1461-0248
ISSN-L: 1461-023X
Volume: 26
Issue: 6
Pages: 908 - 918
DOI: 10.1111/ele.14219
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was funded by Academy of Finland (project no 297191) to AE and (347188) to EK, Swedish Research Council (2015-00498) and Finnish Cultural Foundation to EK, and The University of Oulu & The Academy of Finland Profi4 Grant 318930 Arctic Interactions (ArcI) to NAP. Research Centre for Ecological Change is funded by Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 297191
Detailed Information: 297191 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 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.