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  1. Background and Aims Human-driven nitrogen (N) deposition can alter soil biogeochemistry and plant communities, both critical to soil biota. However, understanding the relative impact of the relationship between nutrient resources and plants on soil communities has been hindered by a lack of experimental manipulations of both factors. We hypothesized that soil nematode communities would be structured predominantly by N addition via overall increased abundance, decreased diversity, and compositional shifts to dominance of r-selected bacterial-feeding nematodes. In contrast, we expected plant efects to be less evident and restricted to nematodes directly associated with plants. Methods We used a long-term (18-yrs) experiment in moist meadow alpine tundra involving N addition and codominant plant (nitrophilic Deschampsia cespitosa and nitrogen sensitive Geum rossii) removal. We characterized nematode communities via 18S rRNA metabarcoding and used soil biogeochemistry, plant, and microbial variables to determine factors shaping their communities. Results The N addition treatment increased overall nematode abundance, decreased diversity, and afected the composition of all nematode trophic groups. Overall, nematode communities shifted to dominance of bacterial feeding nematode taxa adapted to N-enriched environments. The likely drivers of this shift were increased soil nitrate and lower pH. The direct efects of codominant plants were more limited, with only changes in Geum rossii appearing to afect nematode responses. Conclusion Overall, nematode communities in N-limited alpine ecosystems are highly sensitive to increases in N availability, irrespective of the nature of N preferences of codominant plants. The resulting nematode community restructuring could signify future shifts in soil functioning throughout alpine landscapes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Bacterial and fungal root endophytes can impact the fitness of their host plants, but the relative importance of drivers for root endophyte communities is not well known. Host plant species, the composition and density of the surrounding plants, space, and abiotic drivers could significantly affect bacterial and fungal root endophyte communities. We investigated their influence in endophyte communities of alpine plants across a harsh high mountain landscape using high-throughput sequencing. There was less compositional overlap between fungal than bacterial root endophyte communities, with four ‘cosmopolitan’ bacterial OTUs found in every root sampled, but no fungal OTUs found across all samples. We found that host plant species, which included nine species from three families, explained the greatest variation in root endophyte composition for both bacterial and fungal communities. We detected similar levels of variation explained by plant neighborhood, space, and abiotic drivers on both communities, but the plant neighborhood explained less variation in fungal endophytes than expected. Overall, these findings suggest a more cosmopolitan distribution of bacterial OTUs compared to fungal OTUs, a structuring role of the plant host species for both communities, and largely similar effects of the plant neighborhood, abiotic drivers, and space on both communities.

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  3. Grasslands, which constitute almost 40% of the terrestrial biosphere, provide habitat for a great diversity of animals and plants and contribute to the livelihoods of more than 1 billion people worldwide. Whereas the destruction and degradation of grasslands can occur rapidly, recent work indicates that complete recovery of biodiversity and essential functions occurs slowly or not at all. Grassland restoration—interventions to speed or guide this recovery—has received less attention than restoration of forested ecosystems, often due to the prevailing assumption that grasslands are recently formed habitats that can reassemble quickly. Viewing grassland restoration as long-term assembly toward old-growth endpoints, with appreciation of feedbacks and threshold shifts, will be crucial for recognizing when and how restoration can guide recovery of this globally important ecosystem. 
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  4. Invasions by multiple non‐native plant species are common, but management programs often prioritize control of individual species that are expected to have the highest impacts. Multi‐species invasions could have larger or smaller impacts than single‐species invasions depending on how multiple co‐occurring invaders interact to alter their abundance or per capita impacts. Synergistic interactions, such as facilitation, may lead to greater combined impacts. However, if management focuses on a single invader, suppressive interactions could produce unintended consequences, such as the release of a co‐occurring invader with a stronger impact. The mechanisms described here highlight where better evidence is needed to predict the combined impacts of co‐occurring invaders and which mitigation strategies are most effective. Focused research is required to provide such evidence, which can aid managers in prioritizing which plant invaders to target and in determining the best sequence of invader removal – one that minimizes detrimental impacts on communities and ecosystems. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Battipaglia, Giovanna (Ed.)
  7. Plants are subject to tradeoffs among growth strategies such that adaptations for optimal growth in one condition can preclude optimal growth in another. Thus, we predicted that a plant species that responds positively to one global change treatment would be less likely than average to respond positively to another treatment, particularly for pairs of treatments that favor distinct traits. We examined plant species abundances in 39 global change experiments manipulating two or more of the following: CO2, nitrogen, phosphorus, water, temperature, or disturbance. Overall, the directional response of a species to one treatment was 13% more likely than expected to oppose its response to a another single-factor treatment. This tendency was detectable across the global dataset but held little predictive power for individual treatment combinations or within individual experiments. While tradeoffs in the ability to respond to different global change treatments exert discernible global effects, other forces obscure their influence in local communities. 
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