Plant species’ origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands

Seabloom, Eric W
Borer, Elizabeth T
Buckley, Yvonne M
Cleland, Elsa E
Davies, Kendi F
Firn, Jennifer
Harpole, W Stanley
Hautier, Yann
Lind, Eric M
MacDougall, Andrew S
Orrock, John L
Prober, Suzanne M
Adler, Peter B
Anderson, T Michael
Bakker, Jonathan D
Biederman, Lori A
Blumenthal, Dana M
Brown, Cynthia S
Brudvig, Lars A
Cadotte, Marc
Chu, Chengjin
Cottingham, Kathryn L
Crawley, Michael J
Damschen, Ellen I
Dantonio, Carla M
DeCrappeo, Nicole M
Du, Guozhen
Fay, Philip A
Frater, Paul
Gruner, Daniel S
Hagenah, Nicole
Hector, Andy
Hillebrand, Helmut
Hofmockel, Kirsten S
Humphries, Hope C
Jin, Virginia L
Kay, Adam
Kirkman, Kevin P
Klein, Julia A
Knops, Johannes M H
La Pierre, Kimberly J
Ladwig, Laura
Lambrinos, John G
Li, Qi
Li, Wei
Marushia, Robin
McCulley, Rebecca L
Melbourne, Brett A
Mitchell, Charles E
Moore, Joslin L
Morgan, John
Mortensen, Brent
O'Halloran, Lydia R
Pyke, David A
Risch, Anita C
Sankaran, Mahesh
Schuetz, Martin
Simonsen, Anna
Smith, Melinda D
Stevens, Carly J
Sullivan, Lauren
Wolkovich, Elizabeth
Wragg, Peter D
Wright, Justin
Yang, Louie
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Exotic species dominate many communities; however the functional significance of species' biogeographic origin remains highly contentious. This debate is fuelled in part by the lack of globally replicated, systematic data assessing the relationship between species provenance, function and response to perturbations. We examined the abundance of native and exotic plant species at 64 grasslands in 13 countries, and at a subset of the sites we experimentally tested native and exotic species responses to two fundamental drivers of invasion, mineral nutrient supplies and vertebrate herbivory. Exotic species are six times more likely to dominate communities than native species. Furthermore, while experimental nutrient addition increases the cover and richness of exotic species, nutrients decrease native diversity and cover. Native and exotic species also differ in their response to vertebrate consumer exclusion. These results suggest that species origin has functional significance, and that eutrophication will lead to increased exotic dominance in grasslands.
This article is published as Seabloom, E., Borer, E., Buckley, Y. et al. Plant species’ origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands. Nat Commun 6, 7710 (2015). doi:10.1038/ncomms8710. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.