Fertilization decreases plant biodiversity even when light is not limiting

Timothy L. Dickson, Bryan L. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many researchers hypothesize that plant richness declines at high soil fertility (and high productivity) due to light limitation. We tested this hypothesis in an old-field by independently manipulating fertilization and light levels via shade cloth (decreased light), vegetation tie-backs (increased light) and vegetation clipping (increased light). Droughts occurred during two of the fouryears of the study, and we found that higher light levels were generally associated with decreased plant richness in drought years but increased plant richness in wet years. Most importantly, fertilization decreased richness whether light availability limited richness (wet years) or did not limit richness (drought years), and the effects of fertilization and light manipulation treatments were additive. These results suggest that effects of fertilization on plant richness are at least partly independent of light levels and that competition for resources other than light plays a substantial role in the decline of plant richness after fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-388
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

Fingerprint

biodiversity
drought
old field
clipping
vegetation
light availability
back (body region)
soil fertility
shade
researchers
productivity
resource

Keywords

  • Drought
  • Eutrophication
  • Light manipulation
  • Old-field
  • Plant species richness
  • Productivity-biodiversity relationship
  • Seed sowing
  • Shade
  • Species pool
  • Temporal climate variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Fertilization decreases plant biodiversity even when light is not limiting. / Dickson, Timothy L.; Foster, Bryan L.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 14, No. 4, 01.04.2011, p. 380-388.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9d03e2679af6441c901f2f91d49bc4ec,
title = "Fertilization decreases plant biodiversity even when light is not limiting",
abstract = "Many researchers hypothesize that plant richness declines at high soil fertility (and high productivity) due to light limitation. We tested this hypothesis in an old-field by independently manipulating fertilization and light levels via shade cloth (decreased light), vegetation tie-backs (increased light) and vegetation clipping (increased light). Droughts occurred during two of the fouryears of the study, and we found that higher light levels were generally associated with decreased plant richness in drought years but increased plant richness in wet years. Most importantly, fertilization decreased richness whether light availability limited richness (wet years) or did not limit richness (drought years), and the effects of fertilization and light manipulation treatments were additive. These results suggest that effects of fertilization on plant richness are at least partly independent of light levels and that competition for resources other than light plays a substantial role in the decline of plant richness after fertilization.",
keywords = "Drought, Eutrophication, Light manipulation, Old-field, Plant species richness, Productivity-biodiversity relationship, Seed sowing, Shade, Species pool, Temporal climate variability",
author = "Dickson, {Timothy L.} and Foster, {Bryan L.}",
year = "2011",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01599.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "14",
pages = "380--388",
journal = "Ecology Letters",
issn = "1461-023X",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fertilization decreases plant biodiversity even when light is not limiting

AU - Dickson, Timothy L.

AU - Foster, Bryan L.

PY - 2011/4/1

Y1 - 2011/4/1

N2 - Many researchers hypothesize that plant richness declines at high soil fertility (and high productivity) due to light limitation. We tested this hypothesis in an old-field by independently manipulating fertilization and light levels via shade cloth (decreased light), vegetation tie-backs (increased light) and vegetation clipping (increased light). Droughts occurred during two of the fouryears of the study, and we found that higher light levels were generally associated with decreased plant richness in drought years but increased plant richness in wet years. Most importantly, fertilization decreased richness whether light availability limited richness (wet years) or did not limit richness (drought years), and the effects of fertilization and light manipulation treatments were additive. These results suggest that effects of fertilization on plant richness are at least partly independent of light levels and that competition for resources other than light plays a substantial role in the decline of plant richness after fertilization.

AB - Many researchers hypothesize that plant richness declines at high soil fertility (and high productivity) due to light limitation. We tested this hypothesis in an old-field by independently manipulating fertilization and light levels via shade cloth (decreased light), vegetation tie-backs (increased light) and vegetation clipping (increased light). Droughts occurred during two of the fouryears of the study, and we found that higher light levels were generally associated with decreased plant richness in drought years but increased plant richness in wet years. Most importantly, fertilization decreased richness whether light availability limited richness (wet years) or did not limit richness (drought years), and the effects of fertilization and light manipulation treatments were additive. These results suggest that effects of fertilization on plant richness are at least partly independent of light levels and that competition for resources other than light plays a substantial role in the decline of plant richness after fertilization.

KW - Drought

KW - Eutrophication

KW - Light manipulation

KW - Old-field

KW - Plant species richness

KW - Productivity-biodiversity relationship

KW - Seed sowing

KW - Shade

KW - Species pool

KW - Temporal climate variability

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79952522424&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79952522424&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01599.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01599.x

M3 - Article

C2 - 21332902

AN - SCOPUS:79952522424

VL - 14

SP - 380

EP - 388

JO - Ecology Letters

JF - Ecology Letters

SN - 1461-023X

IS - 4

ER -