skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1753859

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. Eutrophication is a major driver of species loss in plant communities worldwide. However, the underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon are controversial. Previous studies have raised three main explanations: 1) High levels of soil resources increase standing biomass, thereby intensifying competitive interactions (the “biomass-driven competition hypothesis”). 2) High levels of soil resources reduce the potential for resource-based niche partitioning (the “niche dimension hypothesis”). 3) Increasing soil nitrogen causes stress by changing the abiotic or biotic conditions (the “nitrogen detriment hypothesis”). Despite several syntheses of resource addition experiments, so far, no study has tested all of the hypotheses together. This is a major shortcoming, since the mechanisms underlying the three hypotheses are not independent. Here, we conduct a simultaneous test of the three hypotheses by integrating data from 630 resource addition experiments located in 99 sites worldwide. Our results provide strong support for the nitrogen detriment hypothesis, weaker support for the biomass-driven competition hypothesis, and negligible support for the niche dimension hypothesis. The results further show that the indirect effect of nitrogen through its effect on biomass is minor compared to its direct effect and is much larger than that of all other resources (phosphorus, potassium, and water). Thus, we conclude thatmore »nitrogen-specific mechanisms are more important than biomass or niche dimensionality as drivers of species loss under high levels of soil resources. This conclusion is highly relevant for future attempts to reduce biodiversity loss caused by global eutrophication.« less
  2. 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.
  3. Abstract There is huge uncertainty about how global exchanges of carbon between the atmosphere and land will respond to continuing environmental change. A better representation of photosynthetic capacity is required for Earth System models to simulate carbon assimilation reliably. Here we use a global leaf-trait dataset to test whether photosynthetic capacity is quantitatively predictable from climate, based on optimality principles; and to explore how this prediction is modified by soil properties, including indices of nitrogen and phosphorus availability, measured in situ. The maximum rate of carboxylation standardized to 25 °C ( V cmax25 ) was found to be proportional to growing-season irradiance, and to increase—as predicted—towards both colder and drier climates. Individual species’ departures from predicted V cmax25 covaried with area-based leaf nitrogen ( N area ) but community-mean V cmax25 was unrelated to N area , which in turn was unrelated to the soil C:N ratio. In contrast, leaves with low area-based phosphorus ( P area ) had low V cmax25 (both between and within communities), and P area increased with total soil P. These findings do not support the assumption, adopted in some ecosystem and Earth System models, that leaf-level photosynthetic capacity depends on soil N supply. They do,more »however, support a previously-noted relationship between photosynthesis and soil P supply.« less
  4. Abstract Plants invest a considerable amount of leaf nitrogen in the photosynthetic enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (RuBisCO), forming a strong coupling of nitrogen and photosynthetic capacity. Variability in the nitrogen-photosynthesis relationship indicates different nitrogen use strategies of plants (i.e., the fraction nitrogen allocated to RuBisCO; fLNR), however, the reason for this remains unclear as widely different nitrogen use strategies are adopted in photosynthesis models. Here, we use a comprehensive database of in situ observations, a remote sensing product of leaf chlorophyll and ancillary climate and soil data, to examine the global distribution in fLNR using a random forest model. We find global fLNR is 18.2 ± 6.2%, with its variation largely driven by negative dependence on leaf mass per area and positive dependence on leaf phosphorus. Some climate and soil factors (i.e., light, atmospheric dryness, soil pH, and sand) have considerable positive influences on fLNR regionally. This study provides insight into the nitrogen-photosynthesis relationship of plants globally and an improved understanding of the global distribution of photosynthetic potential.