skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Ebeling, Anne"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Plant diversity effects on community productivity often increase over time. Whether the strengthening of diversity effects is caused by temporal shifts in species-level overyielding (i.e., higher species-level productivity in diverse communities compared with monocultures) remains unclear. Here, using data from 65 grassland and forest biodiversity experiments, we show that the temporal strength of diversity effects at the community scale is underpinned by temporal changes in the species that yield. These temporal trends of species-level overyielding are shaped by plant ecological strategies, which can be quantitatively delimited by functional traits. In grasslands, the temporal strengthening of biodiversity effects on community productivity was associated with increasing biomass overyielding of resource-conservative species increasing over time, and with overyielding of species characterized by fast resource acquisition either decreasing or increasing. In forests, temporal trends in species overyielding differ when considering above- versus belowground resource acquisition strategies. Overyielding in stem growth decreased for species with high light capture capacity but increased for those with high soil resource acquisition capacity. Our results imply that a diversity of species with different, and potentially complementary, ecological strategies is beneficial for maintaining community productivity over time in both grassland and forest ecosystems.

     
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Eutrophication usually impacts grassland biodiversity, community composition, and biomass production, but its impact on the stability of these community aspects is unclear. One challenge is that stability has many facets that can be tightly correlated (low dimensionality) or highly disparate (high dimensionality). Using standardized experiments in 55 grassland sites from a globally distributed experiment (NutNet), we quantify the effects of nutrient addition on five facets of stability (temporal invariability, resistance during dry and wet growing seasons, recovery after dry and wet growing seasons), measured on three community aspects (aboveground biomass, community composition, and species richness). Nutrient addition reduces the temporal invariability and resistance of species richness and community composition during dry and wet growing seasons, but does not affect those of biomass. Different stability measures are largely uncorrelated under both ambient and eutrophic conditions, indicating consistently high dimensionality. Harnessing the dimensionality of ecological stability provides insights for predicting grassland responses to global environmental change.

     
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Global change drivers, such as anthropogenic nutrient inputs, are increasing globally. Nutrient deposition simultaneously alters plant biodiversity, species composition and ecosystem processes like aboveground biomass production. These changes are underpinned by species extinction, colonisation and shifting relative abundance. Here, we use the Price equation to quantify and link the contributions of species that are lost, gained or that persist to change in aboveground biomass in 59 experimental grassland sites. Under ambient (control) conditions, compositional and biomass turnover was high, and losses (i.e. local extinctions) were balanced by gains (i.e. colonisation). Under fertilisation, the decline in species richness resulted from increased species loss and decreases in species gained. Biomass increase under fertilisation resulted mostly from species that persist and to a lesser extent from species gained. Drivers of ecological change can interact relatively independently with diversity, composition and ecosystem processes and functions such as aboveground biomass due to the individual contributions of species lost, gained or persisting. 
    more » « less
  4. Thrall, Peter (Ed.)
  5. Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of short-term (~1 y) drought events—the most common duration of drought—globally. Yet the impact of this intensification of drought on ecosystem functioning remains poorly resolved. This is due in part to the widely disparate approaches ecologists have employed to study drought, variation in the severity and duration of drought studied, and differences among ecosystems in vegetation, edaphic and climatic attributes that can mediate drought impacts. To overcome these problems and better identify the factors that modulate drought responses, we used a coordinated distributed experiment to quantify the impact of short-term drought on grassland and shrubland ecosystems. With a standardized approach, we imposed ~a single year of drought at 100 sites on six continents. Here we show that loss of a foundational ecosystem function—aboveground net primary production (ANPP)—was 60% greater at sites that experienced statistically extreme drought (1-in-100-y event) vs. those sites where drought was nominal (historically more common) in magnitude (35% vs. 21%, respectively). This reduction in a key carbon cycle process with a single year of extreme drought greatly exceeds previously reported losses for grasslands and shrublands. Our global experiment also revealed high variability in drought response but that relative reductions in ANPP were greater in drier ecosystems and those with fewer plant species. Overall, our results demonstrate with unprecedented rigor that the global impacts of projected increases in drought severity have been significantly underestimated and that drier and less diverse sites are likely to be most vulnerable to extreme drought.

     
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 23, 2025
  6. null (Ed.)
  7. A large body of research shows that biodiversity loss can reduce ecosystem functioning. However, much of the evidence for this relationship is drawn from biodiversity–ecosystem functioning experiments in which biodiversity loss is simulated by randomly assembling communities of varying species diversity, and ecosystem functions are measured. This random assembly has led some ecologists to question the relevance of biodiversity experiments to real-world ecosystems, where community assembly or disassembly may be non-random and influenced by external drivers, such as climate, soil conditions or land use. Here, we compare data from real-world grassland plant communities with data from two of the largest and longest-running grassland biodiversity experiments (the Jena Experiment in Germany and BioDIV in the United States) in terms of their taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity and functional-trait composition. We found that plant communities of biodiversity experiments cover almost all of the multivariate variation of the real-world communities, while also containing community types that are not currently observed in the real world. Moreover, they have greater variance in their compositional features than their real-world counterparts. We then re-analysed a subset of experimental data that included only ecologically realistic communities (that is, those comparable to real-world communities). For 10 out of 12 biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships, biodiversity effects did not differ significantly between the full dataset of biodiversity experiments and the ecologically realistic subset of experimental communities. Although we do not provide direct evidence for strong or consistent biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships in real-world communities, our results demonstrate that the results of biodiversity experiments are largely insensitive to the exclusion of unrealistic communities and that the conclusions drawn from biodiversity experiments are generally robust. 
    more » « less
  8. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research grew rapidly following concerns that biodiversity loss would negatively affect ecosystem functions and the ecosystem services they underpin. However, despite evidence that biodiversity strongly affects ecosystem functioning, the influence of BEF research upon policy and the management of ‘real-world’ ecosystems, i.e., semi-natural habitats and agroecosystems, has been limited. Here, we address this issue by classifying BEF research into three clusters based on the degree of human control over species composition and the spatial scale, in terms of grain, of the study, and discussing how the research of each cluster is best suited to inform particular fields of ecosystem management. Research in the first cluster, small-grain highly controlled studies, is best able to provide general insights into mechanisms and to inform the management of species-poor and highly managed systems such as croplands, plantations, and the restoration of heavily degraded ecosystems. Research from the second cluster, small-grain observational studies, and species removal and addition studies, may allow for direct predictions of the impacts of species loss in specific semi-natural ecosystems. Research in the third cluster, large-grain uncontrolled studies, may best inform landscape-scale management and national-scale policy. We discuss barriers to transfer within each cluster and suggest how new research and knowledge exchange mechanisms may overcome these challenges. To meet the potential for BEF research to address global challenges, we recommend transdisciplinary research that goes beyond these current clusters and considers the social-ecological context of the ecosystems in which BEF knowledge is generated. This requires recognizing the social and economic value of biodiversity for ecosystem services at scales, and in units, that matter to land managers and policy makers. 
    more » « less