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Title: Herbivory and nutrients shape grassland soil seed banks
Abstract

Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment and shifts in herbivory can lead to dramatic changes in the composition and diversity of aboveground plant communities. In turn, this can alter seed banks in the soil, which are cryptic reservoirs of plant diversity. Here, we use data from seven Nutrient Network grassland sites on four continents, encompassing a range of climatic and environmental conditions, to test the joint effects of fertilization and aboveground mammalian herbivory on seed banks and on the similarity between aboveground plant communities and seed banks. We find that fertilization decreases plant species richness and diversity in seed banks, and homogenizes composition between aboveground and seed bank communities. Fertilization increases seed bank abundance especially in the presence of herbivores, while this effect is smaller in the absence of herbivores. Our findings highlight that nutrient enrichment can weaken a diversity maintaining mechanism in grasslands, and that herbivory needs to be considered when assessing nutrient enrichment effects on seed bank abundance.

 
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Award ID(s):
1831944
NSF-PAR ID:
10478445
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Nature
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
14
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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