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Sample records for grassland plant community

  1. Temporal dynamics of soil nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Viketoft, M.; Sohlenius, B.; Bostrom, S.; Palmborg, C.; Bengtsson, J.; Berg, M.P.; Kuss-Danell, K.

    2011-01-01

    We report here on an 8-year study examining links between plant and nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment, located in the north of Sweden on previous agricultural soil. The examined plots contained 1, 4 and 12 common grassland plant species from three functional groups;

  2. Long-term effects of plant diversity and composition on soil nematode communities in grassland.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Viketoft, M.; Bengtsson, J.; Sohlenius, B.; Berg, M.P.; Petchey, O.; Palmborg, C.; Huss-Daniel, K.

    2009-01-01

    An important component of plant-soil feedbacks is how plant species identity and diversity influence soil organism communities. We examine the effects of grassland plant species growing alone and together up to a richness of 12 species on nematode diversity and feeding group composition, eight years

  3. Dissimilar response of plant and soil biota communities to long-term nutrient adition in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wal, van der A.; Geerts, R.H.E.M.; Korevaar, H.; Schouten, A.J.; Jagers op Akkerhuis, G.A.J.M.; Rutgers, M.; Mulder, C.

    2009-01-01

    The long-term effect of fertilizers on plant diversity and productivity is well known, but long-term effects on soil biota communities have received relatively little attention. Here, we used an exceptional long-lasting (>40 years) grassland fertilization experiment to investigate the long-term

  4. The Effects of Timing of Grazing on Plant and Arthropod Communities in High-Elevation Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Stacy C.; Burkle, Laura A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Cutting, Kyle A.

    2014-01-01

    Livestock grazing can be used as a key management tool for maintaining healthy ecosystems. However, the effectiveness of using grazing to modify habitat for species of conservation concern depends on how the grazing regime is implemented. Timing of grazing is one grazing regime component that is less understood than grazing intensity and grazer identity, but is predicted to have important implications for plant and higher trophic level responses. We experimentally assessed how timing of cattle grazing affected plant and arthropod communities in high-elevation grasslands of southwest Montana to better evaluate its use as a tool for multi-trophic level management. We manipulated timing of grazing, with one grazing treatment beginning in mid-June and the other in mid-July, in two experiments conducted in different grassland habitat types (i.e., wet meadow and upland) in 2011 and 2012. In the upland grassland experiment, we found that both early and late grazing treatments reduced forb biomass, whereas graminoid biomass was only reduced with late grazing. Grazing earlier in the growing season versus later did not result in greater recovery of graminoid or forb biomass as expected. In addition, the density of the most ubiquitous grassland arthropod order (Hemiptera) was reduced by both grazing treatments in upland grasslands. A comparison of end-of-season plant responses to grazing in upland versus wet meadow grasslands revealed that grazing reduced graminoid biomass in the wet meadow and forb biomass in the upland, irrespective of timing of grazing. Both grazing treatments also reduced end-of-season total arthropod and Hemiptera densities and Hemiptera biomass in both grassland habitat types. Our results indicate that both early and late season herbivory affect many plant and arthropod characteristics in a similar manner, but grazing earlier may negatively impact species of conservation concern requiring forage earlier in the growing season. PMID:25338008

  5. Biodiversity of Soil Microbial Communities Following Woody Plant Invasion of Grassland: An Assessment Using Molecular Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantola, I. B.; Gentry, T. J.; Filley, T. R.; Boutton, T. W.

    2012-12-01

    Woody plants have encroached into grasslands, savannas, and other grass-dominated ecosystems throughout the world during the last century. This dramatic vegetation change is likely driven by livestock grazing, altered fire frequencies, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and/or changes in atmospheric deposition patterns. Woody invasion often results in significant changes in ecosystem function, including alterations in above- and belowground primary productivity, soil C, N, and P storage and turnover, and the size and activity of the soil microbial biomass pool. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships and interactions between plant communities and soil microbial communities in the Rio Grande Plains region of southern Texas where grasslands have been largely replaced by woodlands. Research was conducted along a successional chronosequence representing the stages of woody plant encroachment from open grassland to closed-canopy woodland. To characterize soil microbial community composition, soil samples (0-7.5 cm) were collected in remnant grasslands (representing time 0) and near the centers of woody plant clusters, groves, and drainage woodlands ranging in age from 10 to 130 yrs. Ages of woody plant stands were determined by dendrochronology. Community DNA was extracted from each soil sample with a MoBio PowerMax Soil DNA isolation kit. The DNA concentrations were quantified on a NanoDrop ND-1000 spectrophotometer and diluted to a standard concentration. Pyrosequencing was performed by the Research and Testing Laboratory (Lubbock, TX) according to Roche 454 Titanium chemistry protocols. Samples were amplified with primers 27F and 519R for bacteria, and primers ITS1F and ITS4 for fungi. Sequences were aligned using BioEdit and the RDP Pipeline and analyzed in MOTHUR. Non-metric multidimensional scaling of the operational taxonomic units identified by pyrosequencing revealed that both bacterial and fungal community composition were

  6. DIVERSITY OF PLANT COMMUNITIES IN SECONDARY SUCCESSION OF IMPERATA GRASSLANDS IN SAMBOJA LESTARI, EAST KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ishak Yassir

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Regeneration of  Imperata grassland areas is becoming increasingly important, both to create new secondary forest and to recover the original biodiversity. The diversity of  plant communities in secondary succession of  Imperata grasslands was studied using 45 subplots of  9 linear transects (10 m x 100 m. Data was collected and all stems over 10 cm dbh were identified, the Importance Values Index (IVI for all trees were calculated, saplings and seedlings were counted  and analysed, and soil samples were taken and analysed. Results showed that  after more than 10 years of  regeneration, 65 families were encountered consisting of  164 species, which were dominated by Vernonia arborea Buch.-Ham, Vitex pinnata L., Macaranga gigantea (Reichb.f. & Zoll. Muell.Arg., Symplocos crassipes C.B. Clarke, Artocarpus odoratissimus Miq., and Bridelia glauca Blume. The effects of  regeneration, from Imperata grassland to secondary forest, on soil were the strongest in the A-horizon where an increase in carbon, N content, and pH were observed. Our result shows that Imperata grasslands appear to be permanent because of  frequent fires and human interferences and so far few efforts have been made to promote sustainable rehabilitation. If  protected from fire and other disturbances, such as shifting cultivation, Imperata grassland will grow and develop into secondary forest.

  7. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Payne, Richard J., E-mail: r.payne@mmu.ac.uk [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL (United Kingdom); Stevens, Carly J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Dise, Nancy B. [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Gowing, David J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K. [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Alfred Denny Building, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom); Emmett, Bridget A. [Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Environment Centre Wales, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW (United Kingdom); Ashmore, Michael R. [Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD (United Kingdom)

    2011-10-15

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: > Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. > Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. > Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. > Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  8. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Payne, Richard J.; Stevens, Carly J.; Dise, Nancy B.; Gowing, David J.; Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Emmett, Bridget A.; Ashmore, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: → Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. → Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. → Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. → Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  9. Changes in plant species richness induce functional shifts in soil nematode communities in experimental grassland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nico Eisenhauer

    Full Text Available Changes in plant diversity may induce distinct changes in soil food web structure and accompanying soil feedbacks to plants. However, knowledge of the long-term consequences of plant community simplification for soil animal food webs and functioning is scarce. Nematodes, the most abundant and diverse soil Metazoa, represent the complexity of soil food webs as they comprise all major trophic groups and allow calculation of a number of functional indices.We studied the functional composition of nematode communities three and five years after establishment of a grassland plant diversity experiment (Jena Experiment. In response to plant community simplification common nematode species disappeared and pronounced functional shifts in community structure occurred. The relevance of the fungal energy channel was higher in spring 2007 than in autumn 2005, particularly in species-rich plant assemblages. This resulted in a significant positive relationship between plant species richness and the ratio of fungal-to-bacterial feeders. Moreover, the density of predators increased significantly with plant diversity after five years, pointing to increased soil food web complexity in species-rich plant assemblages. Remarkably, in complex plant communities the nematode community shifted in favour of microbivores and predators, thereby reducing the relative abundance of plant feeders after five years.The results suggest that species-poor plant assemblages may suffer from nematode communities detrimental to plants, whereas species-rich plant assemblages support a higher proportion of microbivorous nematodes stimulating nutrient cycling and hence plant performance; i.e. effects of nematodes on plants may switch from negative to positive. Overall, food web complexity is likely to decrease in response to plant community simplification and results of this study suggest that this results mainly from the loss of common species which likely alter plant-nematode interactions.

  10. Responses of Ammonia-Oxidising Bacterial Communities to Nitrogen, Lime, and Plant Species in Upland Grassland Soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rooney, D.C.; Kennedy, N.M.; Clipson, N.J.W.; Rooney, D.C.; Kennedy, N.M.; Gleeson, D.B.

    2010-01-01

    Agricultural improvement of semi natural grasslands has been shown to result in changes to plant and microbial diversity, with consequences for ecosystem functioning. A microcosm approach was used to elucidate the effects of two key components of agricultural improvement (nitrogen addition and liming) on ammonia-oxidising bacterial (AOB) communities in an upland grassland soil. Plant species characteristic of unimproved and improved pastures (A. capillaries and L. perenne) were planted in microcosms, and lime, nitrogen (NH 4 NO 3 ), or lime plus nitrogen added. The AOB community was profiled using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) of the amoA gene. AOB community structure was largely altered by NH 4 NO 3 addition, rather than liming, although interactions between nitrogen addition and plant species were also evident. Results indicate that nitrogen addition drives shifts in the structure of key microbial communities in upland grassland soils, and that plant species may play a significant role in determining AOB community structure

  11. [Soil catalase activity of main plant communities in Leymus chinensis grassland in northeast China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Ping; Guo, Jixun; Zhu, Li

    2002-06-01

    The seasonal dynamics of soil catalase activity of three different plants communities in Leymus chinensis grassland in northeast China were in a parabolas shape. The seasonal variation of Chloris virgata community was greater than those of Leymus chinensis community and Puccinellia tenuiflora community, and "seed effect" might be the main reason. The correlation between the activity of soil catalase in different soil layers and environmental factors were analyzed. The results showed that the activity of soil catalase was decreased gradually with depth of soil layer. The activity of soil catalase was closely correlated with rainfall and air temperature, and it was affected by soil temperature, soil moisture, and their interactions. The correlation between the activity and aboveground vegetation was very significant, and the growing condition of plant communities could be reflected by the activity of soil catalase.

  12. Soil Seed Bank and Plant Community Development in Passive Restoration of Degraded Sandy Grasslands

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    Renhui Miao

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate the efficacy of passive restoration on soil seed bank and vegetation recovery, we measured the species composition and density of the soil seed bank, as well as the species composition, density, coverage, and height of the extant vegetation in sites passively restored for 0, 4, 7, and 12 years (S0, S4, S7, and S12 in a degraded grassland in desert land. Compared with S0, three more species in the soil seed bank at depths of 0–30 cm and one more plant species in the community was detected in S12. Seed density within the topsoil (0–5 cm was five times higher in S12 than that in S0. Plant densities in S7 and S12 were triple and quadruple than that in S0. Plant coverage was increased by 1.5 times (S4, double (S7, and triple (S12 compared with S0. Sørensen’s index of similarity in species composition between the soil seed bank and the plant community were high (0.43–0.63, but it was lower in short-term restoration sites (S4 and S7 than that in no and long-term restoration sites (S0 and S12. The soil seed bank recovered more slowly than the plant community under passive restoration. Passive restoration is a useful method to recover the soil seed bank and vegetation in degraded grasslands.

  13. The Effect of Re-Planting Trees on Soil Microbial Communities in a Wildfire-Induced Subalpine Grassland

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    Ed-Haun Chang

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Wildfire often causes tremendous changes in ecosystems, particularly in subalpine and alpine areas, which are vulnerable due to severe climate conditions such as cold temperature and strong wind. This study aimed to clarify the effect of tree re-planting on ecosystem services such as the soil microbial community after several decades. We compared the re-planted forest and grassland with the mature forest as a reference in terms of soil microbial biomass C and N (Cmic and Nmic, enzyme activities, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA composition, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE. The Cmic and Nmic did not differ among the grassland, re-planted forest and mature forest soil; however, ratios of Cmic/Corg and Nmic/Ntot decreased from the grassland to re-planted forest and mature forest soil. The total PLFAs and those attributed to bacteria and Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria did not differ between the re-planted forest and grassland soil. Principle component analysis of the PLFA content separated the grassland from re-planted forest and mature forest soil. Similarly, DGGE analysis revealed changes in both bacterial and fungal community structures with changes in vegetation. Our results suggest that the microbial community structure changes with the re-planting of trees after a fire event in this subalpine area. Recovery of the soil microbial community to the original state in a fire-damaged site in a subalpine area may require decades, even under a re-planted forest.

  14. Floristic and vegetation structure of a grassland plant community on shallow basalt in southern Brazil

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    Marcelo Fett Pinto

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Few studies have adequately described the floristic and structural features of natural grasslands associated with shallow basalt soils in southern Brazil. This study was carried out on natural grazing land used for livestock production in the municipality of Santana do Livramento, in the Campanha region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The aim of the study was to describe the floristic and structural diversity of the area. The floristic list obtained comprises 229 plant taxa from 40 botanical families, with a predominance of the families Poaceae (62, Asteraceae (28, Fabaceae (16 and Cyperaceae (12. The estimated diversity and evenness in the community were 3.00 and 0.874, respectively. Bare soil and rock outcrops accounted for 19.3% of the area, resulting in limited forage availability. Multivariate analysis revealed two well-defined groups among the sampling units. One group showed a high degree of internal aggregation, associated with deep soils, and was characterized by the presence of tussocks, whereas the other was less aggregate and was characterized by prostrate species growing on shallow soil. Ordination analysis indicated a gradient of moisture and of soil depth in the study area, resulting in different vegetation patterns. These patterns were analogous to the vegetation physiognomies described for Uruguayan grasslands. Overall, the grassland community studied is similar to others found throughout southern Brazil, although it harbors more winter forage species. In addition, the rare grass Paspalum indecorum Mez is locally dominant in some patches, behaving similarly to P. notatum Fl., a widespread grass that dominates extensive grassland areas in southern Brazil.

  15. Seasonal dynamics and vertical distribution of plant-feeding nematode communities in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verschoor, B.C.; Goede, de R.G.M.; Hoop, de J.W.; Vries, de F.W.

    2001-01-01

    The vertical distribution and seasonal dynamics of plant- and fungal-feeding nematode taxa in permanent grasslands were investigated. Dolichodoridae, Paratylenchus, Pratylenchus, Tylenchidae and Aphelenchoides dominated the upper 10 cm soil and their numbers strongly decreased with depth. The

  16. Belowground Carbon Allocation and Plant-Microbial Interactions Drive Resistance and Resilience of Mountain Grassland Communities to Drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karlowsky, S.; Augusti, A.; Ingrisch, J.; Hasibeder, R.; Lavorel, S.; Bahn, M.; Gleixner, G.

    2016-12-01

    Belowground carbon allocation (BCA) and plant-microbial interactions are crucial for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Recent research suggests that extreme events can have severe effects on these processes but it is unknown how land use intensity potentially modifies their responses. We studied the resistance and resilience of mountain grassland communities to prolonged drought and investigated the role of plant C allocation and soil microbial communities in mediating drought resistance and immediate recovery. In a common garden experiment we exposed monoliths from an abandoned grassland and a hay meadow to an early summer drought. Two independent 13C pulse labeling experiments were conducted, the first during peak drought and the second during the recovery phase. The 13C incorporation was analyzed in above- and belowground plant parts and in phospho- and neutral lipid fatty acids of soil microorganisms. In addition, a 15N label was added at the rewetting to determine plant N uptake. We found that C uptake, BCA and C transfer to soil microorganisms were less strongly reduced by drought in the abandoned grassland than in the meadow. Moreover, drought induced an increase of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AMF) marker in the abandoned grassland. Nevertheless, C uptake and related parameters were quickly recovered and N uptake increased in the meadow during recovery. Unexpectedly, AMF and their C uptake were generally reduced during recovery, while bacteria increased and quickly recovered C uptake, particularly in the meadow. Our results showed a negative relation between high resistance and fast recovery. The more resistant abandoned grassland plant communities seemed to invest more C below ground and into interactions with AMF during drought, likely to access water through their hyphal network. Conversely, meadow communities invested more C from recent photosynthesis into bacterial communities during recovery, obviously to gain more nutrients for regrowth

  17. Contribution of above- and below-ground plant traits to the structure and function of grassland soil microbial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legay, N; Baxendale, C; Grigulis, K; Krainer, U; Kastl, E; Schloter, M; Bardgett, R D; Arnoldi, C; Bahn, M; Dumont, M; Poly, F; Pommier, T; Clément, J C; Lavorel, S

    2014-10-01

    Abiotic properties of soil are known to be major drivers of the microbial community within it. Our understanding of how soil microbial properties are related to the functional structure and diversity of plant communities, however, is limited and largely restricted to above-ground plant traits, with the role of below-ground traits being poorly understood. This study investigated the relative contributions of soil abiotic properties and plant traits, both above-ground and below-ground, to variations in microbial processes involved in grassland nitrogen turnover. In mountain grasslands distributed across three European sites, a correlative approach was used to examine the role of a large range of plant functional traits and soil abiotic factors on microbial variables, including gene abundance of nitrifiers and denitrifiers and their potential activities. Direct effects of soil abiotic parameters were found to have the most significant influence on the microbial groups investigated. Indirect pathways via plant functional traits contributed substantially to explaining the relative abundance of fungi and bacteria and gene abundances of the investigated microbial communities, while they explained little of the variance in microbial activities. Gene abundances of nitrifiers and denitrifiers were most strongly related to below-ground plant traits, suggesting that they were the most relevant traits for explaining variation in community structure and abundances of soil microbes involved in nitrification and denitrification. The results suggest that consideration of plant traits, and especially below-ground traits, increases our ability to describe variation in the abundances and the functional characteristics of microbial communities in grassland soils. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  18. Soil microbial community structure is unaltered by plant invasion, vegetation clipping, and nitrogen fertilization in experimental semi-arid grasslands

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    Chelsea J Carey

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Global and regional environmental changes often co-occur, creating complex gradients of disturbance on the landscape. Soil microbial communities are an important component of ecosystem response to environmental change, yet little is known about how microbial structure and function respond to multiple disturbances, or whether multiple environmental changes lead to unanticipated interactive effects. Our study used experimental semi-arid grassland plots in a Mediterranean-climate to determine how soil microbial communities in a seasonally variable ecosystem respond to one, two, or three simultaneous environmental changes: exotic plant invasion, plant invasion + vegetation clipping (to simulate common management practices like mowing or livestock grazing, plant invasion + nitrogen (N fertilization, and plant invasion + clipping + N fertilization. We examined microbial community structure 5-6 years after plot establishment via sequencing of >1 million 16S rRNA genes. Abiotic soil properties (soil moisture, temperature, pH, and inorganic N and microbial functioning (nitrification and denitrification potentials were also measured and showed treatment-induced shifts, including altered NO3- availability, temperature, and nitrification potential. Despite these changes, bacterial and archaeal communities showed little variation in composition and diversity across treatments. Even communities in plots exposed to three interacting environmental changes were similar to those in restored native grassland plots. Historical exposure to large seasonal and inter-annual variations in key soil properties, in addition to prior site cultivation, may select for a functionally plastic or largely dormant microbial community, resulting in a microbial community that is structurally robust to single and multiple environmental changes.

  19. Comparing arbuscular mycorrhizal communities of individual plants in a grassland biodiversity experiment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van de Voorde, T.F.J.; Van der Putten, W.H.; Gamper, H.A.; Hol, W.H.G.; Bezemer, T.M.

    2010-01-01

    Plants differ greatly in the soil organisms colonizing their roots. However, how soil organism assemblages of individual plant roots can be influenced by plant community properties remains poorly understood. We determined the composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in Jacobaea vulgaris

  20. Effects of soil depth and plant-soil interaction on microbial community in temperate grasslands of northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yao, Xiaodong; Zhang, Naili; Zeng, Hui; Wang, Wei

    2018-07-15

    Although the patterns and drivers of soil microbial community composition are well studied, little is known about the effects of plant-soil interactions and soil depth on soil microbial distribution at a regional scale. We examined 195 soil samples from 13 sites along a climatic transect in the temperate grasslands of northern China to measure the composition of and factors influencing soil microbial communities within a 1-m soil profile. Soil microbial community composition was measured using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis. Fungi predominated in topsoil (0-10 cm) and bacteria and actinomycetes in deep soils (40-100 cm), independent of steppe types. This variation was explained by contemporary environmental factors (including above- and below-ground plant biomass, soil physicochemical and climatic factors) >58% in the 0-40 cm of soil depth, but soils. Interestingly, when we considered the interactive effects between plant traits (above ground biomass and root biomass) and soil factors (pH, clay content, and soil total carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous), we observed a significant interaction effect occurring at depths of 10-20 cm soil layer, due to different internal and external factors of the plant-soil system along the soil profile. These results improve understanding of the drivers of soil microbial community composition at regional scales. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Assessment of interspecific interactions in plant communities: an illustration from the cold desert saltbush grasslands of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Carl D.; Emlen, John M.

    1995-01-01

    Interspecific interactions influence both the productivity and composition of plant communities. Here, we propose new field procedures and analytical approaches for assessing interspecific interactions in nature and apply these procedures to the salt desert shrub grasslands of western Utah. Data were collected from two grazing treatments over a period of 2 years. The proposed equations were fairly consistent across both treatments and years. In addition to illustrating how to assess interspecific interactions within a community, we also develop a new approach for projecting the community composition as a result of some alteration, i.e. increase or decrease in the abundance of one or more species. Results demonstrate competition both within and between plant life-form groups. While introduced annuals were found to depress profoundly the likelihood of perennial plants replacing themselves, perennials had little influence on annuals. Thus, as native perennials die, they are more likely to be replaced by perennials than for the reverse to occur. Our results suggest that unless conditions change, these communities will become increasingly dominated by introduced annuals.

  2. Spectral identification of plant communities for mapping of semi-natural grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Anne; Nielsen, Allan Aasbjerg; Ejrnæs, Rasmus

    2000-01-01

    identification of plant communities was based on a hierarchical approach relating the test sites to i) management (Ma) and ii) flora (Fl) using spectral consistency and separability as the main criteria. Evaluation of spectral consistency was based on unsupervised clustering of test sites of Ma classes 1 to 7...... as a measure of plant community heterogeneity within management classes. The spectral analysis as well as the maximum likelihood classification indicated that the source of spectral variation within management classes might be related to vegetation composition....

  3. Soil communities promote temporal stability and species asynchrony in experimental grassland communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pellkofer, Sarah; Van Der Heijden, Marcel G A; Schmid, Bernhard; Wagg, Cameron

    2016-01-01

    Background Over the past two decades many studies have demonstrated that plant species diversity promotes primary productivity and stability in grassland ecosystems. Additionally, soil community characteristics have also been shown to influence the productivity and composition of plant communities,

  4. How do plant communities and flower visitors relate? A case study of semi-natural xerothermic grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Damian Chmura

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The paper examines the relationships between the species composition of flower visitors and plants in the semi-natural xerothermic grasslands in southern and central Poland. Thirty 10 × 10 m permanent plots were laid out in total, mainly in nature reserves. The vegetation units studied were classified according to the Braun-Blanquet system; these were phytocoenoses of the Festuco-Brometea classes Inuletum ensifoliae, Adonido-Brachypodietum pinnati and the transitional plant community. Entomological research was performed using the Pollard method within the same plots. A particular site was visited only once and different sites were studied between April and August 2008. We applied, among others, co-correspondence-analysis Co-CA, detrended correspondence analysis (DCA and redundancy analysis (RDA to investigate the co-occurrence patterns of plants and flower visitors and their biotopic requirements. We found that the species composition of flower visitors cannot be predicted by floristic composition when the duration of the study is restricted to one day (but under similar weather conditions; however, there is a positive relationship between the species richness of insects and plants and a positive relationship between the number of plant species and the abundance of flower visitors. The Ellenberg moisture index and the cover of meadow species significantly explained the species composition of insects. The three various vegetation units and five dominant xerothermic species, i.e. Adonis vernalis, Anemone sylvestris, Inula ensifolia, Linum hirsutum and Carlina onopordifolia that were studied across time differed in the species richness of insects. Our results demonstrate that possible patterns in the species composition and the assembly rules of flower visitors are not apparent when the Pollard method is applied. Based on the data obtained using this method, the flower visiting assemblages seem not to be driven by competition and they primarily

  5. Plant assemblage composition and soil P concentration differentially affect communities of AM and total fungi in a semi-arid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klabi, Rim; Bell, Terrence H; Hamel, Chantal; Iwaasa, Alan; Schellenberg, Mike; Raies, Aly; St-Arnaud, Marc

    2015-01-01

    Adding inorganic P- and N-fixing legumes to semi-arid grasslands can increase forage yield, but soil nutrient concentrations and plant cover may also interact to modify soil fungal populations, impacting short- and long-term forage production. We tested the effect of plant assemblage (seven native grasses, seven native grasses + the domesticated N-fixing legume Medicago sativa, seven native grasses + the native N-fixing legume Dalea purpurea or the introduced grass Bromus biebersteinii + M. sativa) and soil P concentration (addition of 0 or 200 P2O5 kg ha(-1) at sowing) on the diversity and community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and total fungi over two consecutive years, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and ITS amplicons. Treatment effects were stronger in the wet year (2008) than the dry year (2009). The presence of an N-fixing legume with native grasses generally increased AM fungal diversity, while the interaction between soil P concentration and plant assemblage modified total fungal community structure in 2008. Excluding interannual variations, which are likely driven by moisture and plant productivity, AM fungal communities in semi-arid grasslands appear to be primarily affected by plant assemblage composition, while the composition of other fungi is more closely linked to soil P. © FEMS 2014. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  6. Distribution, species diversity and composition of plant communities in relation to various affecting factors in an alpine grassland at Bandipora, Kashmir

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dad, J. M.

    2016-01-01

    This study provides a broad understanding of vascular plant richness and community structure of mountain grassland (Matri) at Bandipora, Kashmir and links it various environmental variables. Employing a stratified sampling design, six sites were selected wherein vegetation was sampled by placing quadrats (n=210). Elucidating an important effect of topography and anthropic pressure, numerical classification TWINSPAN segregated the quadrats into seven community types. Contrary to species rich communities which showed an explicit composition and localized distribution, the other communities depicted a vague composition and stretched unevenly between the lower and middle altitudes. Using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), elevation and disturbance were found as most influencing factors whereas steepness of slope, organic carbon, soil reaction (pH) and soil salinity (electrical conductivity) were other important factors. Indices of diversity measured at two measurement scales varied differently between communities and at a macro scale (site level) highest values were recorded in least disturbed communities. However, on a micro scale (quadrat level) the indices behaved differently. For effective conservation of these species rich grasslands, acknowledging the local level variability in vegetation structure is all but crucial. (author)

  7. Meta-scale mountain grassland observatories uncover commonalities as well as specific interactions among plant and non-rhizosphere soil bacterial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yashiro, Erika; Pinto-Figueroa, Eric; Buri, Aline; Spangenberg, Jorge E; Adatte, Thierry; Niculita-Hirzel, Helene; Guisan, Antoine; van der Meer, Jan Roelof

    2018-04-10

    Interactions between plants and bacteria in the non-rhizosphere soil are rarely assessed, because they are less direct and easily masked by confounding environmental factors. By studying plant vegetation alliances and soil bacterial community co-patterning in grassland soils in 100 sites across a heterogeneous mountain landscape in the western Swiss Alps, we obtained sufficient statistical power to disentangle common co-occurrences and weaker specific interactions. Plant alliances and soil bacterial communities tended to be synchronized in community turnover across the landscape, largely driven by common underlying environmental factors, such as soil pH or elevation. Certain alliances occurring in distinct, local, environmental conditions were characterized by co-occurring specialist plant and bacterial species, such as the Nardus stricta and Thermogemmatisporaceae. In contrast, some generalist taxa, like Anthoxanthum odoratum and 19 Acidobacteria species, spanned across multiple vegetation alliances. Meta-scale analyses of soil bacterial community composition and vegetation surveys, complemented with local edaphic measurements, can thus prove useful to identify the various types of plant-bacteria interactions and the environments in which they occur.

  8. The influence of boundary features on grassland-edge communities of Alta Murgia

    OpenAIRE

    Cassano, Stefania; Alignier, Audrey; Forte, Luigi; Labadessa, Rocco; Mairota, Paola

    2016-01-01

    Many studies suggest the importance of boundary features on plant community dynamics. Our aim was to investigate the influence of boundary features on edge plant assemblages in semi-natural dry grasslands. For this purpose we selected 16 grassland edges in the central portion of the Natura 2000 site Murgia Alta, in southeastern Italy. These sites were selected according to a combination of boundary features, i.e. the adjoining land use type (road or cereal crop), slope (grassland tilted towar...

  9. Flower resource and land management drives hoverfly communities and bee abundance in seminatural and agricultural grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucas, Andrew; Bull, James C; de Vere, Natasha; Neyland, Penelope J; Forman, Dan W

    2017-10-01

    Pollination is a key ecosystem service, and appropriate management, particularly in agricultural systems, is essential to maintain a diversity of pollinator guilds. However, management recommendations frequently focus on maintaining plant communities, with the assumption that associated invertebrate populations will be sustained. We tested whether plant community, flower resources, and soil moisture would influence hoverfly (Syrphidae) abundance and species richness in floristically-rich seminatural and floristically impoverished agricultural grassland communities in Wales (U.K.) and compared these to two Hymenoptera genera, Bombus, and Lasioglossum . Interactions between environmental variables were tested using generalized linear modeling, and hoverfly community composition examined using canonical correspondence analysis. There was no difference in hoverfly abundance, species richness, or bee abundance, between grassland types. There was a positive association between hoverfly abundance, species richness, and flower abundance in unimproved grasslands. However, this was not evident in agriculturally improved grassland, possibly reflecting intrinsically low flower resource in these habitats, or the presence of plant species with low or relatively inaccessible nectar resources. There was no association between soil moisture content and hoverfly abundance or species richness. Hoverfly community composition was influenced by agricultural improvement and the amount of flower resource. Hoverfly species with semiaquatic larvae were associated with both seminatural and agricultural wet grasslands, possibly because of localized larval habitat. Despite the absence of differences in hoverfly abundance and species richness, distinct hoverfly communities are associated with marshy grasslands, agriculturally improved marshy grasslands, and unimproved dry grasslands, but not with improved dry grasslands. Grassland plant community cannot be used as a proxy for pollinator

  10. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M.; Alder, Peter B.; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Cleland, Elsa E.; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Davies, Kendi F.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W.; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Orrock, John L.; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Williams, Ryan J.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin P.; Yang, Louie H.

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  11. Bird communities and biomass yields in potential bioenergy grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Blank

    Full Text Available Demand for bioenergy is increasing, but the ecological consequences of bioenergy crop production on working lands remain unresolved. Corn is currently a dominant bioenergy crop, but perennial grasslands could produce renewable bioenergy resources and enhance biodiversity. Grassland bird populations have declined in recent decades and may particularly benefit from perennial grasslands grown for bioenergy. We asked how breeding bird community assemblages, vegetation characteristics, and biomass yields varied among three types of potential bioenergy grassland fields (grass monocultures, grass-dominated fields, and forb-dominated fields, and assessed tradeoffs between grassland biomass production and bird habitat. We also compared the bird communities in grassland fields to nearby cornfields. Cornfields had few birds compared to perennial grassland fields. Ten bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN were observed in perennial grassland fields. Bird species richness and total bird density increased with forb cover and were greater in forb-dominated fields than grass monocultures. SGCN density declined with increasing vertical vegetation density, indicating that tall, dense grassland fields managed for maximum biomass yield would be of lesser value to imperiled grassland bird species. The proportion of grassland habitat within 1 km of study sites was positively associated with bird species richness and the density of total birds and SGCNs, suggesting that grassland bioenergy fields may be more beneficial for grassland birds if they are established near other grassland parcels. Predicted total bird density peaked below maximum biomass yields and predicted SGCN density was negatively related to biomass yields. Our results indicate that perennial grassland fields could produce bioenergy feedstocks while providing bird habitat. Bioenergy grasslands promote agricultural multifunctionality and conservation of biodiversity in working landscapes.

  12. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fengge Zhang

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly (p = 0.019 increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha−1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha−1 biofertilizer. This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha−1 increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella. Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella. According to our structural equation modeling (SEM, Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  13. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fengge; Huo, Yunqian; Cobb, Adam B; Luo, Gongwen; Zhou, Jiqiong; Yang, Gaowen; Wilson, Gail W T; Zhang, Yingjun

    2018-01-01

    In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly ( p = 0.019) increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha -1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum) compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha -1 biofertilizer). This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha -1 ) increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella . Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella . According to our structural equation modeling (SEM), Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  14. [Community structure and diversity of soil arthropods in naturally restored sandy grasslands after grazing].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Ren-tao; Zhao, Ha-lin; Zhao, Xue-yong

    2010-11-01

    Taking the Naiman Desertification Research Station under Chinese Academy of Sciences as a base, an investigation was conducted on the community structure of soil arthropods in the naturally restored sandy grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance, with the effects of vegetation and soil on this community structure approached. In the non-grazing grassland, soil arthropods were rich in species and more in individuals, and had the highest diversity. In the restored grassland after light grazing, soil arthropods had the lowest evenness and diversity. In the restored grassland after moderate grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were lesser but the major groups were more, and the evenness and diversity were higher. In the restored grassland after heavy grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were more but the major groups were lesser, and the diversity was higher. Plant individuals' number, vegetation height and coverage, and soil alkalinity were the main factors affecting the soil arthropod community in naturally restored grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance. It was implied that after 12-year exclosure of grassland, soil arthropod community could be recovered to some degree, while grazing disturbance had long-term negative effects on the arthropod community.

  15. Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenization of grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gossner, Martin M; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Kahl, Tiemo; Grassein, Fabrice; Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Birkhofer, Klaus; Renner, Swen C; Sikorski, Johannes; Wubet, Tesfaye; Arndt, Hartmut; Baumgartner, Vanessa; Blaser, Stefan; Blüthgen, Nico; Börschig, Carmen; Buscot, Francois; Diekötter, Tim; Jorge, Leonardo Ré; Jung, Kirsten; Keyel, Alexander C; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Klemmer, Sandra; Krauss, Jochen; Lange, Markus; Müller, Jörg; Overmann, Jörg; Pašalić, Esther; Penone, Caterina; Perović, David J; Purschke, Oliver; Schall, Peter; Socher, Stephanie A; Sonnemann, Ilja; Tschapka, Marco; Tscharntke, Teja; Türke, Manfred; Venter, Paul Christiaan; Weiner, Christiane N; Werner, Michael; Wolters, Volkmar; Wurst, Susanne; Westphal, Catrin; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Allan, Eric

    2016-12-08

    Land-use intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Alongside reductions in local species diversity, biotic homogenization at larger spatial scales is of great concern for conservation. Biotic homogenization means a decrease in β-diversity (the compositional dissimilarity between sites). Most studies have investigated losses in local (α)-diversity and neglected biodiversity loss at larger spatial scales. Studies addressing β-diversity have focused on single or a few organism groups (for example, ref. 4), and it is thus unknown whether land-use intensification homogenizes communities at different trophic levels, above- and belowground. Here we show that even moderate increases in local land-use intensity (LUI) cause biotic homogenization across microbial, plant and animal groups, both above- and belowground, and that this is largely independent of changes in α-diversity. We analysed a unique grassland biodiversity dataset, with abundances of more than 4,000 species belonging to 12 trophic groups. LUI, and, in particular, high mowing intensity, had consistent effects on β-diversity across groups, causing a homogenization of soil microbial, fungal pathogen, plant and arthropod communities. These effects were nonlinear and the strongest declines in β-diversity occurred in the transition from extensively managed to intermediate intensity grassland. LUI tended to reduce local α-diversity in aboveground groups, whereas the α-diversity increased in belowground groups. Correlations between the β-diversity of different groups, particularly between plants and their consumers, became weaker at high LUI. This suggests a loss of specialist species and is further evidence for biotic homogenization. The consistently negative effects of LUI on landscape-scale biodiversity underscore the high value of extensively managed grasslands for conserving multitrophic biodiversity and ecosystem service provision. Indeed, biotic homogenization rather than local diversity

  16. Extensive Management Promotes Plant and Microbial Nitrogen Retention in Temperate Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Bloem, Jaap; Quirk, Helen; Stevens, Carly J.; Bol, Roland; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Leaching losses of nitrogen (N) from soil and atmospheric N deposition have led to widespread changes in plant community and microbial community composition, but our knowledge of the factors that determine ecosystem N retention is limited. A common feature of extensively managed, species-rich grasslands is that they have fungal-dominated microbial communities, which might reduce soil N losses and increase ecosystem N retention, which is pivotal for pollution mitigation and sustainable food production. However, the mechanisms that underpin improved N retention in extensively managed, species-rich grasslands are unclear. We combined a landscape-scale field study and glasshouse experiment to test how grassland management affects plant and soil N retention. Specifically, we hypothesised that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands of high conservation value would have lower N loss and greater N retention than intensively managed, species-poor grasslands, and that this would be due to a greater immobilisation of N by a more fungal-dominated microbial community. In the field study, we found that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands had lower N leaching losses. Soil inorganic N availability decreased with increasing abundance of fungi relative to bacteria, although the best predictor of soil N leaching was the C/N ratio of aboveground plant biomass. In the associated glasshouse experiment we found that retention of added 15N was greater in extensively than in intensively managed grasslands, which was attributed to a combination of greater root uptake and microbial immobilisation of 15N in the former, and that microbial immobilisation increased with increasing biomass and abundance of fungi. These findings show that grassland management affects mechanisms of N retention in soil through changes in root and microbial uptake of N. Moreover, they support the notion that microbial communities might be the key to improved N retention through tightening linkages

  17. Specialist plant species harbour higher reproductive performances in recently restored calcareous grasslands than in reference habitats

    OpenAIRE

    Harzé, Mélanie; Mahy, Grégory; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe; Piqueray, Julien; Monty, Arnaud

    2015-01-01

    Background and aims_Calcareous grasslands are local biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions that suffered intensive fragmentation. Ecological restoration projects took place all over Europe. Their success has traditionally been assessed using a plant community approach. However, population ecology can also be useful to assess restoration success and to understand underlying mechanisms. Methods_We took advantage of three calcareous grassland sites in Southern Belgium, where reference p...

  18. Precipitation alters interactions in a grassland ecological community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deguines, Nicolas; Brashares, Justin S; Prugh, Laura R

    2017-03-01

    Climate change is transforming precipitation regimes world-wide. Changes in precipitation regimes are known to have powerful effects on plant productivity, but the consequences of these shifts for the dynamics of ecological communities are poorly understood. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Precipitation may affect fauna through direct effects on physiology, behaviour or demography, through plant-mediated indirect effects, or by modifying interactions among species. In this paper, we examined the response of a semi-arid ecological community to a fivefold change in precipitation over 7 years. We examined the effects of precipitation on the dynamics of a grassland ecosystem in central California from 2007 to 2013. We conducted vegetation surveys, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, visual surveys of lizards and capture-mark-recapture surveys of rodents on 30 plots each year. We used structural equation modelling to evaluate the direct, indirect and modifying effects of precipitation on plants, ants, beetles, orthopterans, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels and lizards. We found pervasive effects of precipitation on the ecological community. Although precipitation increased plant biomass, direct effects on fauna were often stronger than plant-mediated effects. In addition, precipitation altered the sign or strength of consumer-resource and facilitative interactions among the faunal community such that negative or neutral interactions became positive or vice versa with increasing precipitation. These findings indicate that precipitation influences ecological communities in multiple ways beyond its recognized effects on primary productivity. Stochastic variation in precipitation may weaken the average strength of biotic interactions over time, thereby increasing ecosystem stability and resilience to climate change. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological

  19. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prober, Suzanne M.; Leff, Jonathan W.; Bates, Scott T.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Lind, Eric M.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Adler, Peter B.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Cleland, Elsa E.; DeCrappeo, Nicole; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Hagenah, Nicole; Hautier, Yann; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Knops, Johannes M. H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly J.; Williams, Ryan J.; Fierer, Noah

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground–belowground interactions exert critical controls on the composition and function of terrestrial ecosystems, yet the fundamental relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity remain elusive. Theory predicts predominantly positive associations but tests within single sites have shown variable relationships, and associations between plant and microbial diversity across broad spatial scales remain largely unexplored. We compared the diversity of plant, bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in one hundred and forty-five 1 m2 plots across 25 temperate grassland sites from four continents. Across sites, the plant alpha diversity patterns were poorly related to those observed for any soil microbial group. However, plant beta diversity (compositional dissimilarity between sites) was significantly correlated with the beta diversity of bacterial and fungal communities, even after controlling for environmental factors. Thus, across a global range of temperate grasslands, plant diversity can predict patterns in the composition of soil microbial communities, but not patterns in alpha diversity.

  20. Grassland communities in the USA and expected trends associated with climate change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Paul Belesky

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands, including managed grazinglands, represent one of the largest ecosystems on the planet. Managed grazinglands in particular tend to occupy marginal climatic and edaphic resource zones, thus exacerbating responses in net primary productivity relative to changes in system resources, including anthropogenic factors. Climate dynamism, as evident from the fossil record, appears to be a putative feature of our planet. Recent global trends in temperature and precipitation patterns seem to differ from long-term patterns and have been associated with human activities linked with increased greenhouse gas emissions; specifically CO2. Thus grasslands, with their diverse floristic components, and interaction with and dependence upon herbivores, have a remarkable ability to persist and sustain productivity in response to changing resource conditions. This resistance and resilience to change, including uncertain long-term weather conditions, establishes managed grasslands as an important means of protecting food security. We review responses of grassland communities across regions of the USA and consider the responses in productivity and system function with respect to climatic variation. Research is needed to identify plant resources and management technologies that strengthen our ability to capitalize upon physiological and anatomical features prevalent in grassland communities associated with varying growing conditions.

  1. Roles of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Abiotic Conditions in the Establishment of a Dry Grassland Community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jana Knappová

    Full Text Available The importance of soil biota in the composition of mature plant communities is commonly acknowledged. In contrast, the role of soil biota in the early establishment of new plant communities and their relative importance for soil abiotic conditions are still poorly understood.The aim of this study was to understand the effects of soil origin and soil fungal communities on the composition of a newly established dry grassland plant community. We used soil from two different origins (dry grassland and abandoned field with different pH and nutrient and mineral content. Grassland microcosms were established by sowing seeds of 54 species of dry grassland plants into the studied soils. To suppress soil fungi, half of the pots were regularly treated with fungicide. In this way, we studied the independent and combined effects of soil origin and soil community on the establishment of dry grassland communities.The effect of suppressing the soil fungal community on the richness and composition of the plant communities was much stronger than the effect of soil origin. Contrary to our expectations, the effects of these two factors were largely additive, indicating the same degree of importance of soil fungal communities in the establishment of species-rich plant communities in the soils from both origins. The negative effect of suppressing soil fungi on species richness, however, occurred later in the soil from the abandoned field than in the soil from the grassland. This result likely occurred because the negative effects of the suppression of fungi in the field soil were caused mainly by changes in plant community composition and increased competition. In contrast, in the grassland soil, the absence of soil fungi was limiting for plants already at the early stages of their establishment, i.e., in the phases of germination and early recruitment. While fungicide affects not only arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi but also other biota, our data indicate that changes

  2. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: Biotic control, plant-soil interactions, and dispersal limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Palacios, P.; Bowker, M.A.; Maestre, F.T.; Soliveres, S.; Valladares, F.; Papadopoulos, J.; Escudero, A.

    2011-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plant-soil interactions) are of major importance in understanding the role of biotic control in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about these links in the context of ecosystem restoration and succession. The assessment of the key biotic communities and interactions driving ecosystem development will help practitioners to better allocate the limited resources devoted to roadside grassland restoration. We surveyed roadside grasslands from three successional stages (0-2, 7-9, and > 20 years) in two Mediterranean regions of Spain. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate how interactions between plants, biological soil crusts (BSCs), and soil microbial functional diversity (soil microorganisms) affect indicators of ecosystem development and restoration: plant similarity to the reference ecosystem, erosion control, and soil C storage and N accumulation. Changes in plant community composition along the successional gradient exerted the strongest influence on these indicators. High BSC cover was associated with high soil stability, and high soil microbial functional diversity from late-successional stages was associated with high soil fertility. Contrary to our expectations, the indirect effects of plants, mediated by either BSCs or soil microorganisms, were very weak in both regions, suggesting a minor role for plant-soil interactions upon ecosystem development indicators over long periods. Our results suggest that natural vegetation dynamics effectively improved ecosystem development within a time frame of 20 years in the grasslands evaluated. They also indicate that this time could be shortened if management actions focus on: (1) maintaining wellconserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late

  3. Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Olsson, Pål Axel; Mårtensson, Linda-Maria; Bruun, Hans Henrik

    2009-01-01

    soil; a number of nationally red-listed species showed a similar pattern. Plant species diversity and number of red-listed species increased with slope. Where the topsoil had been acidified, limestone was rarely present above a depth of 30 cm. The presence of limestone restricts the availability......Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits......). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N, as well as limestone content and pH. Data were analysed with regression analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. Results: Plant species richness was highest on weakly acid to slightly alkaline...

  4. Drought consistently alters the composition of soil fungal and bacterial communities in grasslands from two continents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl; Collins, Scott L; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Hamonts, Kelly; Pockman, William T; Sinsabaugh, Robert L; Smith, Melinda D; Knapp, Alan K; Power, Sally A

    2018-03-05

    The effects of short-term drought on soil microbial communities remain largely unexplored, particularly at large scales and under field conditions. We used seven experimental sites from two continents (North America and Australia) to evaluate the impacts of imposed extreme drought on the abundance, community composition, richness, and function of soil bacterial and fungal communities. The sites encompassed different grassland ecosystems spanning a wide range of climatic and soil properties. Drought significantly altered the community composition of soil bacteria and, to a lesser extent, fungi in grasslands from two continents. The magnitude of the fungal community change was directly proportional to the precipitation gradient. This greater fungal sensitivity to drought at more mesic sites contrasts with the generally observed pattern of greater drought sensitivity of plant communities in more arid grasslands, suggesting that plant and microbial communities may respond differently along precipitation gradients. Actinobateria, and Chloroflexi, bacterial phyla typically dominant in dry environments, increased their relative abundance in response to drought, whereas Glomeromycetes, a fungal class regarded as widely symbiotic, decreased in relative abundance. The response of Chlamydiae and Tenericutes, two phyla of mostly pathogenic species, decreased and increased along the precipitation gradient, respectively. Soil enzyme activity consistently increased under drought, a response that was attributed to drought-induced changes in microbial community structure rather than to changes in abundance and diversity. Our results provide evidence that drought has a widespread effect on the assembly of microbial communities, one of the major drivers of soil function in terrestrial ecosystems. Such responses may have important implications for the provision of key ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, and may result in the weakening of plant-microbial interactions and a

  5. No evidence of complementary water use along a plant species richness gradient in temperate experimental grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dörte Bachmann

    Full Text Available Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O and 28 cm depth (with ²H three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs. Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in ²H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species.

  6. Nitrogen acquisition by plants and microorganisms in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Qianyuan; Qiao, Na; Xu, Xingliang; Xin, Xiaoping; Han, Jessie Yc; Tian, Yuqiang; Ouyang, Hua; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-03-10

    Nitrogen (N) limitation is common in most terrestrial ecosystems, often leading to strong competition between microorganisms and plants. The mechanisms of niche differentiation to reduce this competition remain unclear. Short-term (15)N experiments with NH4(+), NO3(-), and glycine were conducted in July, August and September in a temperate grassland to evaluate the chemical, spatial and temporal niche differentiation by competition between plants and microorganisms for N. Microorganisms preferred NH4(+) and NO3(-), while plants preferred NO3(-). Both plants and microorganisms acquired more N in August and September than in July. The soil depth had no significant effects on microbial uptake, but significantly affected plant N uptake. Plants acquired 67% of their N from the 0-5 cm soil layer and 33% from the 5-15 cm layer. The amount of N taken up by microorganisms was at least seven times than plants. Although microorganisms efficiently compete for N with plants, the competition is alleviated through chemical partitioning mainly in deeper soil layer. In the upper soil layer, neither chemical nor temporal niche separation is realized leading to strong competition between plants and microorganisms that modifies N dynamics in grasslands.

  7. Elevated CO2 and water addition enhance nitrogen turnover in grassland plants with implications for temporal stability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dijkstra, Feike A; Carrillo, Yolima; Blumenthal, Dana M; Mueller, Kevin E; LeCain, Dan R; Morgan, Jack A; Zelikova, Tamara J; Williams, David G; Follett, Ronald F; Pendall, Elise

    2018-05-01

    Temporal variation in soil nitrogen (N) availability affects growth of grassland communities that differ in their use and reuse of N. In a 7-year-long climate change experiment in a semi-arid grassland, the temporal stability of plant biomass production varied with plant N turnover (reliance on externally acquired N relative to internally recycled N). Species with high N turnover were less stable in time compared to species with low N turnover. In contrast, N turnover at the community level was positively associated with asynchrony in biomass production, which in turn increased community temporal stability. Elevated CO 2 and summer irrigation, but not warming, enhanced community N turnover and stability, possibly because treatments promoted greater abundance of species with high N turnover. Our study highlights the importance of plant N turnover for determining the temporal stability of individual species and plant communities affected by climate change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  8. Plant species' origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26173623

  9. Changes in grassland management and plant diversity in a marginal region of the Carpathian Mts. in 1999-2015.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halada, Ľuboš; David, Stanislav; Hreško, Juraj; Klimantová, Alexandra; Bača, Andrej; Rusňák, Tomáš; Buraľ, Miroslav; Vadel, Ľuboš

    2017-12-31

    The political change from socialism to democracy in countries of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 20th century induced broad changes in agriculture mostly due to land ownership changes and strong reduction of subsidies to agriculture. This resulted in agricultural decline, including grassland abandonment, which influenced grassland biodiversity and conservation. Between 1999 and 2015 we studied the grasslands in the area depopulated in the early 1980's in the Poloniny National Park (NE Slovakia, Carpathian Mts.). The aim of the study was to examine influence of environmental factors and grassland management driven by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to plant community structure and taxonomical diversity. We identified altitude and soil properties as the main environmental factors: altitude determines climate gradient and probably also management intensity gradient and soil properties express soil fertility via A-horizon depth. We identified remarkable increase of proportion of managed grasslands from only 8% in 1999 to 40% in 2012-2015; other 7% of sampled grasslands were recently restored and prepared for future management. The average species richness in grasslands managed in 2012-2015 increased from 47.5 species per record in 1999 to 54.2 species in 2012-2015, the increase was found statistically significant. In 2012-2015, we observed statistically significant difference in the average species richness between managed (54.2) and abandoned grasslands (46.3). The agricultural subsidies of the CAP drive the grassland management in the study area. Therefore, we conclude that CAP enabled grassland biodiversity maintenance in significant part of the Poloniny National Park following start of its application in 2004 and above provided figures can be considered as indicators of the CAP effectiveness in our study area. However, the conservation of mountain meadows remains a challenge because of their poor accessibility. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All

  10. Past tree influence and prescribed fire mediate biotic interactions and community reassembly in a grassland-restoration experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles B. Halpern; Joseph A. Antos; Donald McKenzie; Annette M. Olson; Lara Souza

    2016-01-01

    1. Woody plant encroachment of grasslands is occurring globally, with profound ecological consequences. Attempts to restore herbaceous dominance may fail if the woody state is resilient or if intervention leads to an alternate, undesirable state. Restoration outcomes often hinge on biotic interactions – particularly on priority effects that inhibit or promote community...

  11. Hemiptera community and species responses to grassland sward islets

    OpenAIRE

    Helden, Alvin J.; Dittrich, Alex D. K.

    2016-01-01

    Sward islet is a term that has been used to describe a patch of longer vegetation in a pasture produced by a reduction in cattle grazing around their dung. They are known to affect the abundance and distribution of grassland arthropods. Hemiptera, like other groups, are found in higher densities within islets than the surrounding sward. Does this modify the community composition or is there just a density effect? Evidence from a paired (islets, non-islets) study at an Irish cattle-grazed site...

  12. Plant Community and Soil Environment Response to Summer Fire in the Northern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire is a keystone process in many ecosystems, especially grasslands. However, documentation of plant community and soil environment responses to fire is limited for semiarid grasslands relative to that for mesic grasslands. Replicated summer fire research is lacking, but much needed because summe...

  13. BETA DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY DIFFERENTIATION IN DRY PERENNIAL SAND GRASSLANDS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. KOVACS-LANG

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The spatial variability of species composition was studied in perennial sand grasslands in Hungary at multiple scales. Three sites were compared along an aridity gradient. Existing differences in climate along this ca. 200 km gradient correspond to regional climate changes predicted for the next 20-30 years. Six stands of Festucetum vaginatae grasslands were selected at each site within 400 x 1200 m areas for representing the coarse-scale within-site heterogeneity. Fine-scale compositional heterogeneity of vegetation within stands was sampled by recording the presence of species along 52 m long circular belt transects of 1040 units of 5 cm x 5 cm contiguous microquadrats. This sampling design enabled us to study the patterns of species combinations at a wide range of scales. The highest variability of plant species combinations appeared at very fine scales, between 10 cm and 25 cm. Differences in beta diversity along the gradient were scale-dependent. We found a decreasing trend of beta diversity with increasing aridity at fine scale, and on the contrary, an increasing trend at landscape scale. We conclude that the major trend of the vegetation differentiation due to aridity is the decrease of compositional variability at fine-scale accompanied by a coarse-scale diversification.

  14. The community ecology of barley/cereal yellow dwarf viruses in Western US grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Power, Alison G; Borer, Elizabeth T; Hosseini, Parviez; Mitchell, Charles E; Seabloom, Eric W

    2011-08-01

    Research on plant viruses in natural ecosystems has been increasing rapidly over the past decade. This paper reviews recent research on the barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (B/CYDVs) in grasslands of the western US, beginning with the evidence that the disease caused by these viruses facilitated the invasion of western US grasslands by European annual grasses. Observational and experimental studies of B/CYDVs were carried out along a latitudinal gradient (33.8-48.8°N) from southern California to southern Canada. The prevalence and community composition of B/CYDVs were assessed over a variety of scales and under a range of biotic and abiotic conditions. The findings indicate that both biotic and abiotic factors are important influences on virus ecology and epidemiology. Introduced annual grasses are high-quality hosts that amplify both virus and vector populations in this system, but our research suggests that endemic perennial grasses are critically important for sustaining virus populations in contemporary grasslands largely composed of introduced species. Experiments indicated that increased phosphorus supply to hosts resulted in greater host biomass and higher virus prevalence. Using experimental exclosures, it was found that the presence of grazing vertebrate herbivores increased the abundance of annual grasses, resulting in increased virus prevalence. The results of these studies suggest that patterns of B/CYDV prevalence and coinfection in western US grasslands are strongly shaped by the interactions of host plants, vectors, vertebrate herbivores, and abiotic drivers including nutrients. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Plant community variability on a small area in southeastern Montana

    Science.gov (United States)

    James G. MacCracken; Daniel W. Uresk; Richard M. Hansen

    1984-01-01

    Plant communities are inherently variable due to a number of environmental and biological forces. Canopy cover and aboveground biomass were determined for understory vegetation in plant communities of a prairie grassland-forest ecotone in southeastern Montana. Vegetation units were described using polar ordination and stepwise discriminant analysis. Nine of a total of...

  16. Community structure of grassland ground-dwelling arthropods along increasing soil salinities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Chengchen; Feng, Qi; Liu, Jiliang; Li, Yulin; Li, Yuqiang; Yu, Xiaoya

    2018-03-01

    Ground-dwelling arthropod communities are influenced by numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Little is known, however, about the relative importance of vegetation structure and abiotic environmental factors on the patterns of ground-dwelling arthropod community across a wide range of soil salinities. Here, a field survey was conducted to assess the driving forces controlling ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands in the Hexi Corridor, Gansu Province, China. The data were analyzed by variance partitioning with canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). We found that vegetation structure and edaphic factors were at least of similar importance to the pattern of the whole ground-dwelling arthropod community. However, when all collected ground-dwelling arthropods were categorized into three trophic guilds (predators, herbivores, and decomposers), as these groups use different food sources, their populations were controlled by different driving forces. Predators and decomposers were mainly determined by biotic factors such as vegetation cover and aboveground plant biomass and herbivores by plant density and vegetation cover. Abiotic factors were also major determinants for the variation occurring in these guilds, with predators strongly affected by soil electrical conductivity (EC) and the content of fine particles (silt + clay, CS), herbivores by soil N:P, EC, and CS, and decomposers by soil EC and organic matter content (SOM). Since plant cover, density, and aboveground biomass can indicate resource availability, which are mainly constrained by soil N:P, EC, CS, and SOM, we consider that the ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands was mainly influenced by resource availability.

  17. Interspecific neighbor interactions promote the positive diversity-productivity relationship in experimental grassland communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuhua Zhang

    Full Text Available Because the frequency of heterospecific interactions inevitably increases with species richness in a community, biodiversity effects must be expressed by such interactions. However, little is understood how heterospecific interactions affect ecosystem productivity because rarely are biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiments spatially explicitly manipulated. To test the effect of heterospecific interactions on productivity, direct evidence of heterospecific neighborhood interaction is needed. In this study we conducted experiments with a detailed spatial design to investigate whether and how heterospecific neighborhood interactions promote primary productivity in a grassland community. The results showed that increasing the heterospecific: conspecific contact ratio significantly increased productivity. We found there was a significant difference in the variation in plant height between monoculture and mixture communities, suggesting that height-asymmetric competition for light plays a central role in promoting productivity. Heterospecific interactions make tall plants grow taller and short plants become smaller in mixtures compared to monocultures, thereby increasing the efficiency of light interception and utilization. Overyielding in the mixture communities arises from the fact that the loss in the growth of short plants is compensated by the increased growth of tall plants. The positive correlation between species richness and primary production was strengthened by increasing the frequency of heterospecific interactions. We conclude that species richness significantly promotes primary ecosystem production through heterospecific neighborhood interactions.

  18. Interspecific neighbor interactions promote the positive diversity-productivity relationship in experimental grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yuhua; Wang, Yongfan; Yu, Shixiao

    2014-01-01

    Because the frequency of heterospecific interactions inevitably increases with species richness in a community, biodiversity effects must be expressed by such interactions. However, little is understood how heterospecific interactions affect ecosystem productivity because rarely are biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiments spatially explicitly manipulated. To test the effect of heterospecific interactions on productivity, direct evidence of heterospecific neighborhood interaction is needed. In this study we conducted experiments with a detailed spatial design to investigate whether and how heterospecific neighborhood interactions promote primary productivity in a grassland community. The results showed that increasing the heterospecific: conspecific contact ratio significantly increased productivity. We found there was a significant difference in the variation in plant height between monoculture and mixture communities, suggesting that height-asymmetric competition for light plays a central role in promoting productivity. Heterospecific interactions make tall plants grow taller and short plants become smaller in mixtures compared to monocultures, thereby increasing the efficiency of light interception and utilization. Overyielding in the mixture communities arises from the fact that the loss in the growth of short plants is compensated by the increased growth of tall plants. The positive correlation between species richness and primary production was strengthened by increasing the frequency of heterospecific interactions. We conclude that species richness significantly promotes primary ecosystem production through heterospecific neighborhood interactions.

  19. Grassland to woodland transitions: Dynamic response of microbial community structure and carbon use patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, Courtney A.; Filley, Timothy R.; Boutton, Thomas W.; Rowe, Helen I.

    2016-06-01

    Woodland encroachment into grasslands is a globally pervasive phenomenon attributed to land use change, fire suppression, and climate change. This vegetation shift impacts ecosystem services such as ground water allocation, carbon (C) and nutrient status of soils, aboveground and belowground biodiversity, and soil structure. We hypothesized that woodland encroachment would alter microbial community structure and function and would be related to patterns in soil C accumulation. To address this hypothesis, we measured the composition and δ13C values of soil microbial phospholipids (PLFAs) along successional chronosequences from C4-dominated grasslands to C3-dominated woodlands (small discrete clusters and larger groves) spanning up to 134 years. Woodland development increased microbial biomass, soil C and nitrogen (N) concentrations, and altered microbial community composition. The relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria (cy19:0) increased linearly with stand age, consistent with decreases in soil pH and/or greater rhizosphere development and corresponding increases in C inputs. δ13C values of all PLFAs decreased with time following woody encroachment, indicating assimilation of woodland C sources. Among the microbial groups, fungi and actinobacteria in woodland soils selectively assimilated grassland C to a greater extent than its contribution to bulk soil. Between the two woodland types, microbes in the groves incorporated relatively more of the relict C4-C than those in the clusters, potentially due to differences in below ground plant C allocation and organo-mineral association. Changes in plant productivity and C accessibility (rather than C chemistry) dictated microbial C utilization in this system in response to shrub encroachment.

  20. Rapid top-down regulation of plant C:N:P stoichiometry by grasshoppers in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo; Elser, James J

    2011-05-01

    Understanding how food web interactions alter the processing of limiting nutrient elements is an important goal of ecosystem ecology. An experiment manipulating densities of the grasshopper Oedaleus asiaticus was performed to assess top-down effects of grasshoppers on C:N:P stoichiometry of plants and soil in a grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia (China). With increased grasshopper feeding, plant biomass declined fourfold, litter abundance increased 30%, and the plant community became dominated by non-host plant taxa. Plant stoichiometric response depended on whether or not the plant was a grasshopper host food species: C:N and C:P ratios increased with increasing grasshopper density (GD) for host plants but decreased in non-host plants. These data suggest either a direct transfer of grasshopper-recycled nutrients from host to non-host plants or a release of non-host plants from nutrient competition with heavily grazed host plants. Litterfall C:N and C:P decreased across moderate levels of grasshopper density but no effects on C:N:P stoichiometry in the surface soil were observed, possibly due to the short experimental period. Our observations of divergent C:N:P stoichiometric response among plant species highlight the important role of grasshopper herbivory in regulating plant community structure and nutrient cycling in grassland ecosystems.

  1. Herbivory and eutrophication mediate grassland plant nutrient responses across a global climatic gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, T. Michael; Griffith, Daniel M.; Grace, James B.; Lind, Eric M.; Adler, Peter B.; Biederman, Lori A.; Blumenthal, Dana M.; Daleo, Pedro; Firn, Jennifer; Hagenah, Nicole; Harpole, W. Stanley; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Prober, Suzanne M.; Risch, Anita C.; Sankaran, Mahesh; Schütz, Martin; Seabloom, Eric W.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren; Wragg, Peter; Borer, Elizabeth T.

    2018-01-01

    Plant stoichiometry, the relative concentration of elements, is a key regulator of ecosystem functioning and is also being altered by human activities. In this paper we sought to understand the global drivers of plant stoichiometry and compare the relative contribution of climatic vs. anthropogenic effects. We addressed this goal by measuring plant elemental (C, N, P and K) responses to eutrophication and vertebrate herbivore exclusion at eighteen sites on six continents. Across sites, climate and atmospheric N deposition emerged as strong predictors of plot‐level tissue nutrients, mediated by biomass and plant chemistry. Within sites, fertilization increased total plant nutrient pools, but results were contingent on soil fertility and the proportion of grass biomass relative to other functional types. Total plant nutrient pools diverged strongly in response to herbivore exclusion when fertilized; responses were largest in ungrazed plots at low rainfall, whereas herbivore grazing dampened the plant community nutrient responses to fertilization. Our study highlights (1) the importance of climate in determining plant nutrient concentrations mediated through effects on plant biomass, (2) that eutrophication affects grassland nutrient pools via both soil and atmospheric pathways and (3) that interactions among soils, herbivores and eutrophication drive plant nutrient responses at small scales, especially at water‐limited sites.

  2. Grassland Arthropods Are Controlled by Direct and Indirect Interactions with Cattle but Are Largely Unaffected by Plant Provenance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrell, Kelly Anne; Harpole, W Stanley; Stein, Claudia; Suding, Katharine N; Borer, Elizabeth T

    2015-01-01

    Cattle grazing and invasion by non-native plant species are globally-ubiquitous changes occurring to plant communities that are likely to reverberate through whole food webs. We used a manipulative field experiment to quantify how arthropod community structure differed in native and non-native California grassland communities in the presence and absence of grazing. The arthropod community was strongly affected by cattle grazing: the biovolume of herbivorous arthropods was 79% higher in grazed than ungrazed plots, whereas the biovolume of predatory arthropods was 13% higher in ungrazed plots. In plots where non-native grasses were grazed, arthropod biovolume increased, possibly in response to increased plant productivity or increased nutritional quality of rapidly-growing annual plants. Grazing may thus affect plant biomass both through the direct removal of biomass, and through arthropod-mediated impacts. We also expected the arthropod community to differ between native and non-native plant communities; surprisingly, arthropod richness and diversity did not vary consistently between these grass community types, although arthropod abundance was slightly higher in plots with native and ungrazed grasses. These results suggest that whereas cattle grazing affects the arthropod community via direct and indirect pathways, arthropod community changes commonly associated with non-native plant invasions may not be due to the identity or dominance of the invasive species in those systems, but to accompanying changes in plant traits or functional group composition, not seen in this experiment because of the similarity of the plant communities.

  3. Grassland Arthropods Are Controlled by Direct and Indirect Interactions with Cattle but Are Largely Unaffected by Plant Provenance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelly Anne Farrell

    Full Text Available Cattle grazing and invasion by non-native plant species are globally-ubiquitous changes occurring to plant communities that are likely to reverberate through whole food webs. We used a manipulative field experiment to quantify how arthropod community structure differed in native and non-native California grassland communities in the presence and absence of grazing. The arthropod community was strongly affected by cattle grazing: the biovolume of herbivorous arthropods was 79% higher in grazed than ungrazed plots, whereas the biovolume of predatory arthropods was 13% higher in ungrazed plots. In plots where non-native grasses were grazed, arthropod biovolume increased, possibly in response to increased plant productivity or increased nutritional quality of rapidly-growing annual plants. Grazing may thus affect plant biomass both through the direct removal of biomass, and through arthropod-mediated impacts. We also expected the arthropod community to differ between native and non-native plant communities; surprisingly, arthropod richness and diversity did not vary consistently between these grass community types, although arthropod abundance was slightly higher in plots with native and ungrazed grasses. These results suggest that whereas cattle grazing affects the arthropod community via direct and indirect pathways, arthropod community changes commonly associated with non-native plant invasions may not be due to the identity or dominance of the invasive species in those systems, but to accompanying changes in plant traits or functional group composition, not seen in this experiment because of the similarity of the plant communities.

  4. Urban Power Line Corridors as Novel Habitats for Grassland and Alien Plant Species in South-Western Finland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jussi Lampinen

    Full Text Available Regularly managed electric power line corridors may provide habitats for both early-successional grassland plant species and disturbance-dependent alien plant species. These habitats are especially important in urban areas, where they can help conserve native grassland species and communities in urban greenspace. However, they can also provide further footholds for potentially invasive alien species that already characterize urban areas. In order to implement power line corridors into urban conservation, it is important to understand which environmental conditions in the corridors favor grassland species and which alien species. Likewise it is important to know whether similar environmental factors in the corridors control the species composition of the two groups. We conducted a vegetation study in a 43 kilometer long urban power line corridor network in south-western Finland, and used generalized linear models and distance-based redundancy analysis to determine which environmental factors best predict the occurrence and composition of grassland and alien plant species in the corridors. The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species. Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric. Factors controlling species composition in the two groups are somewhat correlated, with the most important factors including light abundance, soil moisture, soil calcium concentration and soil productivity. The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

  5. Cellulolytic potential under environmental changes in microbial communities from grassland litter

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renaud eBerlemont

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available In many ecosystems, global changes are likely to profoundly affect microorganisms. In Southern California, changes in precipitation and nitrogen deposition may influence the composition and functional potential of microbial communities and their resulting ability to degrade plant material. To test whether environmental changes impact the distribution of functional groups involved in leaf litter degradation, we determined how the genomic diversity of microbial communities in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem changed under reduced precipitation or increased N deposition. We monitored communities seasonally over a period of two years to place environmental change responses into the context of natural variation. Fungal and bacterial communities displayed strong seasonal patterns, Fungi being mostly detected during the dry season whereas Bacteria were common during wet periods. Most putative cellulose degraders were associated with 33 bacterial genera and constituted ~18.2% of the microbial community. Precipitation reduction reduced bacterial abundance and cellulolytic potential whereas nitrogen addition did not affect the cellulolytic potential of the microbial community. Finally, we detected a strong correlation between the frequencies of genera putative cellulose degraders and cellulase genes. Thus, microbial taxonomic composition was predictive of cellulolytic potential. This work provides a framework for how environmental changes affect microorganisms responsible for plant litter deconstruction.

  6. Effect of soil properties and hydrology on Archaeal community composition in three temperate grasslands on peat

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Görres, Carolyn-Monika; Conrad, Ralf; Petersen, Søren O

    2013-01-01

    Grasslands established on drained peat soils are regarded as negligible methane (CH4) sources; however, they can still exhibit considerable soil CH4 dynamics. We investigated archaeal community composition in two different fen peat soils and one bog peat soil under permanent grassland in Denmark........ Overall, there seemed to be a significant coupling between peat type and archaeal community composition, with local hydrology modifying the strength of this coupling....

  7. Pollination biology in a tropical high-altitude grassland in Brazil: Interactions at the community level

    OpenAIRE

    Freitas, L; Sazima, M

    2006-01-01

    Surveys of local assemblages of plants and their pollinators are among the most useful ways to evaluate specialization in pollination and to discuss the patterns of plant-pollinator interactions among ecosystems. The high-altitude grasslands from southeastern Brazil constitute diminutive island-like formations surrounded by montane rainforests. We registered the floral traits of 124 species from the Serra da Bricaina grasslands (about 60% of the animal-pollinated species of this flora), and d...

  8. Root-induced decomposer growth and plant N uptake are not positively associated among a set of grassland plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Saj, S.; Mikola, J.; Ekelund, Flemming

    2008-01-01

    It is known that plant species can induce development of different soil decomposer communities and that they differ in their influence on organic matter decomposition and N mineralization in soil. However, no study has so far assessed whether these two observations are related to each other. Base...... that plant traits such as competitive ability for soil mineral N were more important for plant uptake of litter-N than those that directly affected the growth of soil decomposers.......It is known that plant species can induce development of different soil decomposer communities and that they differ in their influence on organic matter decomposition and N mineralization in soil. However, no study has so far assessed whether these two observations are related to each other. Based...... on the hypothesis that root-induced growth of soil decomposers leads to accelerated decomposition of SOM and increased plant N availability in soil, we predicted that (1) among a set of grassland plants the abundance of soil decomposers in the plant rhizosphere is positively associated with plant N uptake from soil...

  9. Plant species occurrence patterns in Eurasian grasslands reflect adaptation to nutrient ratios

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roeling, Ineke S.; Ozinga, Wim A.; van Dijk, Jerry; Eppinga, Maarten B.; Wassen, Martin J.

    2018-01-01

    Previous studies of Eurasian grasslands have suggested that nutrient ratios, rather than absolute nutrient availabilities and associated productivity, may be driving plant species richness patterns. However, the underlying assumption that species occupy distinct niches along nutrient ratio gradients

  10. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem. [Rocky Flats Plant

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, /sup 238/Pu and /sup 239/Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes.

  11. Responses of soil fungal community to the sandy grassland restoration in Horqin Sandy Land, northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shao-Kun; Zuo, Xiao-An; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Qiang; Zhou, Xin; Lv, Peng; Luo, Yong-Qing; Yun, Jian-Ying

    2016-01-01

    Sandy grassland restoration is a vital process including re-structure of soils, restoration of vegetation, and soil functioning in arid and semi-arid regions. Soil fungal community is a complex and critical component of soil functioning and ecological balance due to its roles in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling following sandy grassland restoration. In this study, soil fungal community and its relationship with environmental factors were examined along a habitat gradient of sandy grassland restoration: mobile dunes (MD), semi-fixed dunes (SFD), fixed dunes (FD), and grassland (G). It was found that species abundance, richness, and diversity of fungal community increased along with the sandy grassland restoration. The sequences analysis suggested that most of the fungal species (68.4 %) belonged to the phylum of Ascomycota. The three predominant fungal species were Pleospora herbarum, Wickerhamomyces anomalus, and Deconica Montana, accounting for more than one fourth of all the 38 species. Geranomyces variabilis was the subdominant species in MD, Pseudogymnoascus destructans and Mortierella alpine were the subdominant species in SFD, and P. destructans and Fungi incertae sedis were the dominant species in FD and G. The result from redundancy analysis (RDA) and stepwise regression analysis indicated that the vegetation characteristics and soil properties explain a significant proportion of the variation in the fungal community, and aboveground biomass and C:N ratio are the key factors to determine soil fungal community composition during sandy grassland restoration. It was suggested that the restoration of sandy grassland combined with vegetation and soil properties improved the soil fungal diversity. Also, the dominant species was found to be alternative following the restoration of sandy grassland ecosystems.

  12. Allelopathic dominance ofMiscanthus transmorrisonensis in an alpine grassland community in Taiwan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chou, C H; Lee, Y F

    1991-11-01

    A study site located at 2600 m elevation in Tartarchia Anpu, Nantou county, Taiwan, exhibits a unique grassland community composed of two principal species,Miscanthus transmorrisonensis andYushinia niitakayamensis, and 35 other species. The relative frequencies of the two species are 12% and 11%, while their relative coverages are 25% and 19.5%, respectively. The values for the remaining 35 species are lower than4% each, while species diversity of the community is -3.04839, indicating great diversity. To elucidate the mechanism of dominance ofM. transmorrisonensis, allelopathic evaluation of the plant was conducted. Aqueous extracts of M.Transmorrisonensis plant parts with two ecotypes were bioassayed. The extracts showed significant phytotoxic effects on seed germination and radicle growth of four tested plants: rye grass, lettuce, and two varieties of Chinese cabbage. In addition, rhizosphere soils underMiscanthus also exhibited significant phytotoxicity, indicating that allelopathic interaction was involved. Some responsible phytotoxic phenolics, namely, p-coumaric, ferulic, vanillic, protocatechuic, o-hydroxyphenylacetic, andm-hydroxyphenylacetic acids, and 4-hydroxycoumarin and phloridzin were identified. Allelopathy thus can play an important role in regulating plant diversity in the field.

  13. Conversion of sagebrush shrublands to exotic annual grasslands negatively impacts small mammal communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostoja, S.M.; Schupp, E.W.

    2009-01-01

    Aim The exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is fast replacing sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities throughout the Great Basin Desert and nearby regions in the Western United States, impacting native plant communities and altering fire regimes, which contributes to the long-term persistence of this weedy species. The effect of this conversion on native faunal communities remains largely unexamined. We assess the impact of conversion from native perennial to exotic annual plant communities on desert rodent communities. Location Wyoming big sagebrush shrublands and nearby sites previously converted to cheatgrass-dominated annual grasslands in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA. Methods At two sites in Tooele County, Utah, USA, we investigated with Sherman live trapping whether intact sagebrush vegetation and nearby converted Bromus tectorum-dominated vegetation differed in rodent abundance, diversity and community composition. Results Rodent abundance and species richness were considerably greater in sagebrush plots than in cheatgrass-dominated plots. Nine species were captured in sagebrush plots; five of these were also trapped in cheatgrass plots, all at lower abundances than in the sagebrush. In contrast, cheatgrass-dominated plots had no species that were not found in sagebrush. In addition, the site that had been converted to cheatgrass longer had lower abundances of rodents than the site more recently converted to cheatgrass-dominated plots. Despite large differences in abundances and species richness, Simpson's D diversity and Shannon-Wiener diversity and Brillouin evenness indices did not differ between sagebrush and cheatgrass-dominated plots. Main conclusions This survey of rodent communities in native sagebrush and in converted cheatgrass-dominated vegetation suggests that the abundances and community composition of rodents may be shifting, potentially at the larger spatial scale of the entire Great Basin, where cheatgrass continues to invade

  14. Controls upon microbial accessibility to soil organic matter following woody plant encroachment into grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, C. A.; Boutton, T. W.; Filley, T. R.

    2009-12-01

    Woody plant encroachment (WPE) into savannas and grasslands is a global phenomenon that alters soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics through changes in litter quality and quantity, soil structure, microbial ecology, and soil hydrology. To elucidate the controls upon microbial accessibility to SOM, bulk soils from a chronosequence of progressive WPE into native grasslands at the Texas A&M Agricultural Experimental Station La Copita Research Area were incubated for one year. The quantity and stable carbon isotope composition of respired CO2, plant biopolymer chemistry in SOM, and microbial community structure were tracked. Respiration rates declined steadily over the course of the experiment with 15-25% of the total CO2 respired released in the first month of incubation. Between 8 and 18% of the total carbon was mineralized to CO2 throughout the incubation. After day 84 a significantly (p evidence of enhanced carbon stabilization in these respiration experiments. In fact, a greater proportion of total carbon was lost from the soil of mature woody stands than from young stands, suggesting carbon accumulation observed with WPE may be due to greater input rates or microbial dynamics not captured in the laboratory incubation. A cluster approximately 34 years in age represents a transition point in WPE where respiration dynamics become distinct between grassland and wooded elements. By day 84 of the incubation CO2 respired from all soils was depleted with respect to bulk SOM (1.5 to 5‰) and this pattern remained for the rest of the incubation. As the depletion of CO2 relative to bulk SOM was observed in grassland and cluster soils, we hypothesized the depleted signature resulted from the utilization of depleted biopolymers, specifically lignin, cutin and suberin, as hypothesized by others. Quantitative and isotopic comparisons of these monomers prior to and following the incubation will determine if selective compound utilization is a reason for this depletion. The results

  15. Striking a balance: socioeconomic development and conservation in grassland through community-based zoning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig Leisher

    Full Text Available The goal of preserving nature is often in conflict with economic development and the aspirations of the rural poor. Nowhere is this more striking than in native grasslands, which have been extensively converted until a mere fraction of their original extent remains. This is not surprising; grasslands flourish in places coveted by humans, primed for agriculture, plantations, and settlements that nearly always trump conservation efforts. The Umgano grassland conservation and poverty reduction project in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa uses community-based spatial planning to balance the conversion of its lower-conservation value grasslands to a timber plantation, while conserving higher-value grasslands for heritage purposes and managed livestock grazing. Ten years after project launch, we measured the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of the project using Normalized Differential Vegetation Index remote sensing data and over 500 household interviews, as compared with similar non-conserved areas. Zoned management of the Umgano area had resulted in between 9% and 17% greater average peak production in the grassland areas compared to control sites. There was also a 21% gain in incomes for the roughly one hundred people employed by the forestry efforts, when compared to others in their village. Community-based spatial zoning is an overlooked tool for balancing conservation and development but may require, as we found in Umgano, certain critical factors including strong local leadership, an accountable financial management mechanism to distribute income, outside technical expertise for the zoning design, and community support.

  16. Incorporating biodiversity into rangeland health: Plant species richness and diversity in great plains grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Jonas, Jayne L.

    2011-01-01

    Indicators of rangeland health generally do not include a measure of biodiversity. Increasing attention to maintaining biodiversity in rangelands suggests that this omission should be reconsidered, and plant species richness and diversity are two metrics that may be useful and appropriate. Ideally, their response to a variety of anthropogenic and natural drivers in the ecosystem of interest would be clearly understood, thereby providing a means to diagnose the cause of decline in an ecosystem. Conceptual ecological models based on ecological principles and hypotheses provide a framework for this understanding, but these models must be supported by empirical evidence if they are to be used for decision making. To that end, we synthesize results from published studies regarding the responses of plant species richness and diversity to drivers that are of management concern in Great Plains grasslands, one of North America's most imperiled ecosystems. In the published literature, moderate grazing generally has a positive effect on these metrics in tallgrass prairie and a neutral to negative effect in shortgrass prairie. The largest published effects on richness and diversity were caused by moderate grazing in tallgrass prairies and nitrogen fertilization in shortgrass prairies. Although weather is often cited as the reason for considerable annual fluctuations in richness and diversity, little information about the responses of these metrics to weather is available. Responses of the two metrics often diverged, reflecting differences in their sensitivity to different types of changes in the plant community. Although sufficient information has not yet been published for these metrics to meet all the criteria of a good indicator in Great Plains Grasslands, augmenting current methods of evaluating rangeland health with a measure of plant species richness would reduce these shortcomings and provide information critical to managing for biodiversity.

  17. Ozone sensitivity of plants in natural communities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Treshow, M; Stewart, D

    1973-07-01

    Field fumigation studies conducted in grassland, oak, aspen, and conifer, communities established the injury threshold of prevalent plant species to ozone. Several important species, including Bromus tectorum, Quercus gambelii, and Populus tremuloides, were injured by a single 2-hours exposure to 15 pphM ozone. Over half the perennial forbs and woody species studied were visibly injured at concentrations of 30 pphM ozone or less. It is postulated that lower concentrations at prolonged or repeated exposures to ozone may impair growth and affect community vigor and stability. Continued exposure of natural plant communities to ozone is expected to initiate major shifts in the plant composition of communities. 10 references, 4 figures, 1 table.

  18. Shift in soil microbial communities with shrub encroachment in Inner Mongolia grasslands, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, H.; Li, H.; Zhang, J.; Hu, H.; Chen, L.; Zhu, Y.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    The ongoing expansion of shrub encroachment into grasslands represents a unique form of land cover change. How this process affects soil microbial communities is poorly understood. In this study, we aim to assess the effects of shrub encroachment on soil microbial biomass, abundance and composition by comparing data between shrub patches and neighboring herb patches in shrub-encroached grasslands (SEGs) in Inner Mongolia, China. Fourteen SEG sites from two ecosystem types (typical and desert grasslands) were investigated. The phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method was used to analyze the composition and biomass of the soil microbial community. Our results showed that the top-soil microbial biomass and abundances of gram-negative bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and actinomycetes were significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in both typical and desert grasslands (P fungi to bacteria ratio was significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in desert grassland (P soil microbial communities, which makes the microbial communities toward a fresh organic carbon-based structure. This study highlights the importance of edaphic and climate factors in microbial community shifts in SEGs.

  19. MBS Native Plant Communities

    Data.gov (United States)

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — This data layer contains results of the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS). It includes polygons representing the highest quality native plant communities...

  20. The effect of grassland management on enchytraeids (Oligochaeta) communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Maraldo, Kristine; Schmelz, Rüdiger; Christensen, Bent Tolstrup

    2012-01-01

    Enchytraeids (small white earthworms between 3 to 35 mm) are important regulators of nitrogen turnover in grasslands, as their activities accelerate the decomposition and nutrient recycling processes. In this study, the effect of management on species composition, abundance and biomass of the enc...... biomass and density of the grazed plots are due to compaction by grazing animals....

  1. Subsurface earthworm casts can be important soil microsites specifically influencing the growth of grassland plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaller, Johann G; Wechselberger, Katharina F; Gorfer, Markus; Hann, Patrick; Frank, Thomas; Wanek, Wolfgang; Drapela, Thomas

    Earthworms (Annelida: Oligochaeta) deposit several tons per hectare of casts enriched in nutrients and/or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and create a spatial and temporal soil heterogeneity that can play a role in structuring plant communities. However, while we begin to understand the role of surface casts, it is still unclear to what extent plants utilize subsurface casts. We conducted a greenhouse experiment using large mesocosms (volume 45 l) to test whether (1) soil microsites consisting of earthworm casts with or without AMF (four Glomus taxa) affect the biomass production of 11 grassland plant species comprising the three functional groups grasses, forbs, and legumes, (2) different ecological groups of earthworms (soil dwellers- Aporrectodea caliginosa vs. vertical burrowers- Lumbricus terrestris ) alter potential influences of soil microsites (i.e., four earthworms × two subsurface microsites × two AMF treatments). Soil microsites were artificially inserted in a 25-cm depth, and afterwards, plant species were sown in a regular pattern; the experiment ran for 6 months. Our results show that minute amounts of subsurface casts (0.89 g kg -1 soil) decreased the shoot and root production of forbs and legumes, but not that of grasses. The presence of earthworms reduced root biomass of grasses only. Our data also suggest that subsurface casts provide microsites from which root AMF colonization can start. Ecological groups of earthworms did not differ in their effects on plant production or AMF distribution. Taken together, these findings suggest that subsurface earthworm casts might play a role in structuring plant communities by specifically affecting the growth of certain functional groups of plants.

  2. Simulation of the decomposition and nitrogen mineralization of aboveground plant material in two unfertilized grassland ecosystems.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bloemhof, H.S.; Berendse, F.

    1995-01-01

    A simple model of the decomposition and nitrogen mineralization of plant material from two unfertilized grassland ecosystems has been developed, with only the proportion of leaves and stems in the original material, the initial nitrogen contents of these plant parts and temperature as input data.

  3. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on "1"3C natural abundances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Klaus, Valentin H.; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F.; Hänsel, Falk; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2016-01-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ"1"3C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier "1"3C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of "1"3C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ"1"3C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ"1"3C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ"1"3C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future climate change. - Highlights

  4. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on {sup 13}C natural abundances

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klaus, Valentin H., E-mail: v.klaus@uni-muenster.de [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Hölzel, Norbert [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F. [Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena (Germany); Hänsel, Falk [University Marburg, Environmental Informatics, Faculty of Geography, Deutschhausstr. 12, 35037 Marburg (Germany); Fischer, Markus [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Kleinebecker, Till [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany)

    2016-10-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ{sup 13}C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier {sup 13}C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of {sup 13}C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ{sup 13}C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ{sup 13}C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ{sup 13}C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future

  5. Effects of Bromus tectorum invasion on microbial carbon and nitrogen cycling in two adjacent undisturbed arid grassland communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaeffer, Sean M.; Ziegler, Susan E.; Belnap, Jayne; Evans, R.D.

    2012-01-01

    Soil nitrogen (N) is an important component in maintaining ecosystem stability, and the introduction of non-native plants can alter N cycling by changing litter quality and quantity, nutrient uptake patterns, and soil food webs. Our goal was to determine the effects of Bromus tectorum (C3) invasion on soil microbial N cycling in adjacent non-invaded and invaded C3 and C4 native arid grasslands. We monitored resin-extractable N, plant and soil δ13C and δ15N, gross rates of inorganic N mineralization and consumption, and the quantity and isotopic composition of microbial phospholipid biomarkers. In invaded C3 communities, labile soil organic N and gross and net rates of soil N transformations increased, indicating an increase in overall microbial N cycling. In invaded C4 communities labile soil N stayed constant, but gross N flux rates increased. The δ13C of phospholipid biomarkers in invaded C4 communities showed that some portion of the soil bacterial population preferentially decomposed invader C3-derived litter over that from the native C4 species. Invasion in C4 grasslands also significantly decreased the proportion of fungal to bacterial phospholipid biomarkers. Different processes are occurring in response to B. tectorum invasion in each of these two native grasslands that: 1) alter the size of soil N pools, and/or 2) the activity of the microbial community. Both processes provide mechanisms for altering long-term N dynamics in these ecosystems and highlight how multiple mechanisms can lead to similar effects on ecosystem function, which may be important for the construction of future biogeochemical process models.

  6. Does resource availability, resource heterogeneity or species turnover mediate changes in plant species richness in grazed grasslands?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, C; Blair, JM; Knapp, AK

    2003-01-01

    Grazing by large ungulates often increases plant species richness in grasslands of moderate to high productivity. In a mesic North American grassland with and without the presence of bison (Bos bison), a native ungulate grazer, three non-exclusive hypotheses for increased plant species richness in

  7. Impact of weather on dynamics of plant functional groups in an abandoned limestone grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zbigniew Dzwonko

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available We examined to what extend the rate and direction of changes in unmanaged grassland depend on fluctuations in climatic conditions. Vegetation data from permanent plots in a semi-natural grassland in southern Poland collected over 12 years were used. Relations between weather variables, time, and the cover of 41 more frequent species and 14 plant functional groups were analysed. The greatest effect on the dynamics of species and functional groups had precipitation in spring and/or early summer, particularly in the current year. The majority of plant groups were significantly affected also by the temperature in spring and early summer in one of the three previous years. During 12 years, the cover of annuals and biennials, short plants, and plants with small leaves decreased, while the cover of taller plants, plants with larger leaves, and with vegetative spread increased. The analyses suggest that these successional changes were not directly associated with climatic conditions but were affected by them indirectly through interspecific competition. The fluctuations in climatic conditions, chiefly precipitation, had a significant effect on both the composition and the rate of changes in abandoned grassland. The increase in the cover of tall perennial species with broad leaves hindered succession towards woodland despite of the presence of woods in the closed vicinity. It can be expected that during drier periods colonisation of grassland by later successional species could be easier.

  8. Abiotic drivers of Chihuahuan Desert plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laura Marie Ladwig

    2014-01-01

    Within grasslands, precipitation, fire, nitrogen (N) addition, and extreme temperatures influence community composition and ecosystem function. The differential influences of these abiotic factors on Chihuahuan Desert grassland communities was examined within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New Mexico, U.S.A. Although fire is a natural...

  9. Mechanical soil disturbance as a determinant of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in semi-natural grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schnoor, Tim Krone; Lekberg, Ylva; Rosendahl, Søren

    2011-01-01

    an ongoing grassland restoration experiment that contained replicated plowed and control plots. The AM fungal community in roots was determined using nested PCR and LSU rDNA primers. We identified 38 phylotypes within the Glomeromycota, of which 29 belonged to Glomus A, six to Glomus B, and three...

  10. Experimental effects of herbivore density on above-ground plant biomass in an alpine grassland ecosystem

    OpenAIRE

    Austrheim, Gunnar; Speed, James David Mervyn; Martinsen, Vegard; Mulder, Jan; Mysterud, Atle

    2014-01-01

    Herbivores may increase or decrease aboveground plant productivity depending on factors such as herbivore density and habitat productivity. The grazing optimization hypothesis predicts a peak in plant production at intermediate herbivore densities, but has rarely been tested experimentally in an alpine field setting. In an experimental design with three densities of sheep (high, low, and no sheep), we harvested aboveground plant biomass in alpine grasslands prior to treatment and after five y...

  11. Woody plant encroachment of grasslands: a comparison of terrestrial and wetland settings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saintilan, Neil; Rogers, Kerrylee

    2015-02-01

    A global trend of woody plant encroachment of terrestrial grasslands is co-incident with woody plant encroachment of wetland in freshwater and saline intertidal settings. There are several arguments for considering tree encroachment of wetlands in the context of woody shrub encroachment of grassland biomes. In both cases, delimitation of woody shrubs at regional scales is set by temperature thresholds for poleward extent, and by aridity within temperature limits. Latitudinal expansion has been observed for terrestrial woody shrubs and mangroves, following recent warming, but most expansion and thickening has been due to the occupation of previously water-limited grassland/saltmarsh environments. Increases in atmospheric CO₂, may facilitate the recruitment of trees in terrestrial and wetland settings. Improved water relations, a mechanism that would predict higher soil moisture in grasslands and saltmarshes, and also an enhanced capacity to survive arid conditions, reinforces local mechanisms of change. The expansion of woody shrubs and mangroves provides a negative feedback on elevated atmospheric CO₂ by increasing carbon sequestration in grassland and saltmarsh, and is a significant carbon sink globally. These broad-scale vegetation shifts may represent a new stable state, reinforced by positive feedbacks between global change drivers and endogenic mechanisms of persistence in the landscape.

  12. Inter-specific competition, but not different soil microbial communities, affects N chemical forms uptake by competing graminoids of upland grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Medina-Roldán

    Full Text Available Evidence that plants differ in their ability to take up both organic (ON and inorganic (IN forms of nitrogen (N has increased ecologists' interest on resource-based plant competition. However, whether plant uptake of IN and ON responds to differences in soil microbial community composition and/or functioning has not yet been explored, despite soil microbes playing a key role in N cycling. Here, we report results from a competition experiment testing the hypothesis that soil microbial communities differing in metabolic activity as a result of long-term differences to grazing exposure could modify N uptake of Eriophorum vaginatum L. and Nardus stricta L. These graminoids co-occur on nutrient-poor, mountain grasslands where E. vaginatum decreases and N. stricta increases in response to long-term grazing. We inoculated sterilised soil with soil microbial communities from continuously grazed and ungrazed grasslands and planted soils with both E. vaginatum and N. stricta, and then tracked uptake of isotopically labelled NH(4 (+ (IN and glycine (ON into plant tissues. The metabolically different microbial communities had no effect on N uptake by either of the graminoids, which might suggest functional equivalence of soil microbes in their impacts on plant N uptake. Consistent with its dominance in soils with greater concentrations of ON relative to IN in the soluble N pool, Eriophorum vaginatum took up more glycine than N. stricta. Nardus stricta reduced the glycine proportion taken up by E. vaginatum, thus increasing niche overlap in N usage between these species. Local abundances of these species in mountain grasslands are principally controlled by grazing and soil moisture, although our results suggest that changes in the relative availability of ON to IN can also play a role. Our results also suggest that coexistence of these species in mountain grasslands is likely based on non-equilibrium mechanisms such as disturbance and/or soil heterogeneity.

  13. Rapid response of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities to short-term fertilization in an alpine grassland on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xingjia Xiang

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Background: The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP is home to the vast grassland in China. The QTP grassland ecosystem has been seriously degraded by human land use practices and climate change. Fertilization is used in this region to increase vegetation yields for grazers. The impact of long-term fertilization on plant and microbial communities has been studied extensively. However, the influence of short-term fertilization on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF communities in the QTP is largely unknown, despite their important functional role in grassland ecosystems. Methods: We investigated AMF community responses to three years of N and/or P addition at an experimental field site on the QTP, using the Illumina MiSeq platform (PE 300. Results: Fertilization resulted in a dramatic shift in AMF community composition and NP addition significantly increased AMF species richness and phylogenetic diversity. Aboveground biomass, available phosphorus, and NO3− were significantly correlated with changes in AMF community structure. Changes in these factors were driven by fertilization treatments. Thus, fertilization had a large impact on AMF communities, mediated by changes in aboveground productivity and soil chemistry. Discussion: Prior work has shown how plants often lower their reliance on AMF symbioses following fertilization, leading to decrease AMF abundance and diversity. However, our study reports a rise in AMF diversity with fertilization treatment. Because AMF can provide stress tolerance to their hosts, we suggest that extreme weather on the QTP may help drive a positive relationship between fertilizer amendment and AMF diversity.

  14. Grassland communities of traditional orchards in the Western Carpathians (Slovakia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hubert Zarnovican

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Traditional orchards are a valuable feature of the rural landscape and they are specific for regions with scattered settlement such as the Myjava hilly land and White Carpathians. Here, the permanent species-rich grasslands beneath trees were regularly managed in the traditional manner until some were replaced in the 1970’s and 80’s by intensively managed orchards, some of which were abandoned in the early 1990’s. Our 2011–2015 phytosociological research followed the standard Braun-Blanquet approach. We classified 178 phytosociological relevés recorded in orchard meadows (156 relevés, former intensively managed orchards (16 relevés, and two relevés from a semi-intensively grazed orchard. Traditionally managed orchard meadows were classified in the following five units: (i Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – thermophilous variant, (ii Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – transitional variant to Alchemillo-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iii Ranunculo bulbosi-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iv Onobrychido viciifoliae-Brometum erecti, and (v Brachypodio pinnati-Molinietum arundinaceae. Formerly intensively managed large-scale orchards were classified as Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris association and the semi-intensively grazed orchard as Lolio perennis-Cynosuretum cristati association. The species composition varies considerably due to tree-shading and different management treatments applied in the orchards, so the relevés of the delimited syntaxonomic units are not typical and have transitional character. Moisture, soil nutrients, and soil reaction were identified as the main environmental gradients influencing species composition. We tested four management treatments in direct gradient analysis and found that abandonment has the strongest effect on species composition. Comparison of grassland vegetation in the studied traditional orchards with that described in Germany reveals differences in species

  15. Different land use intensities in grassland ecosystems drive ecology of microbial communities involved in nitrogen turnover in soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Schöning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM), intensely used mown pastures (IP) and extensively used pastures (EP), respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK). The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation) might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity.

  16. Different land use intensities in grassland ecosystems drive ecology of microbial communities involved in nitrogen turnover in soil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Annabel Meyer

    Full Text Available Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM, intensely used mown pastures (IP and extensively used pastures (EP, respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK. The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity.

  17. Different Land Use Intensities in Grassland Ecosystems Drive Ecology of Microbial Communities Involved in Nitrogen Turnover in Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Schöning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM), intensely used mown pastures (IP) and extensively used pastures (EP), respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK). The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation) might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity. PMID:24039974

  18. Community-specific hydraulic conductance potential of soil water decomposed for two Alpine grasslands by small-scale lysimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frenck, Georg; Leitinger, Georg; Obojes, Nikolaus; Hofmann, Magdalena; Newesely, Christian; Deutschmann, Mario; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Tasser, Erich

    2018-02-01

    For central Europe in addition to rising temperatures an increasing variability in precipitation is predicted. This will increase the probability of drought periods in the Alps, where water supply has been sufficient in most areas so far. For Alpine grasslands, community-specific imprints on drought responses are poorly analyzed so far due to the sufficient natural water supply. In a replicated mesocosm experiment we compared evapotranspiration (ET) and biomass productivity of two differently drought-adapted Alpine grassland communities during two artificial drought periods divided by extreme precipitation events using high-precision small lysimeters. The drought-adapted vegetation type showed a high potential to utilize even scarce water resources. This is combined with a low potential to translate atmospheric deficits into higher water conductance and a lower biomass production as those measured for the non-drought-adapted type. The non-drought-adapted type, in contrast, showed high water conductance potential and a strong increase in ET rates when environmental conditions became less constraining. With high rates even at dry conditions, this community appears not to be optimized to save water and might experience drought effects earlier and probably more strongly. As a result, the water use efficiency of the drought-adapted plant community is with 2.6 gDW kg-1 of water much higher than that of the non-drought-adapted plant community (0.16 gDW kg-1). In summary, the vegetation's reaction to two covarying gradients of potential evapotranspiration and soil water content revealed a clear difference in vegetation development and between water-saving and water-spending strategies regarding evapotranspiration.

  19. Mapping Plant Functional Groups in Subalpine Grassland of the Greater Caucasus

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    Anja Magiera

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Plant functional groups—in our case grass, herbs, and legumes—and their spatial distribution can provide information on key ecosystem functions such as species richness, nitrogen fixation, and erosion control. Knowledge about the spatial distribution of plant functional groups provides valuable information for grassland management. This study described and mapped the distribution of grass, herb, and legume coverage of the subalpine grassland in the high-mountain Kazbegi region, Greater Caucasus, Georgia. To test the applicability of new sensors, we compared the predictive power of simulated hyperspectral canopy reflectance, simulated multispectral reflectance, simulated vegetation indices, and topographic variables for modeling plant functional groups. The tested grassland showed characteristic differences in species richness; in grass, herb, and legume coverage; and in connected structural properties such as yield. Grass (Hordeum brevisubulatum was dominant in biomass-rich hay meadows. Herb-rich grassland featured the highest species richness and evenness, whereas legume-rich grassland was accompanied by a high coverage of open soil and showed dominance of a single species, Astragalus captiosus. The best model fits were achieved with a combination of reflectance, vegetation indices, and topographic variables as predictors. Random forest models for grass, herb, and legume coverage explained 36%, 25%, and 37% of the respective variance, and their root mean square errors varied between 12–15%. Hyperspectral and multispectral reflectance as predictors resulted in similar models. Because multispectral data are more easily available and often have a higher spatial resolution, we suggest using multispectral parameters enhanced by vegetation indices and topographic parameters for modeling grass, herb, and legume coverage. However, overall model fits were merely moderate, and further testing, including stronger gradients and the addition of

  20. Diversity and distribution of autotrophic microbial community along environmental gradients in grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Guangxia; Kong, Weidong; Liu, Jinbo; Zhao, Jingxue; Du, Haodong; Zhang, Xianzhou; Xia, Pinhua

    2015-10-01

    Soil microbial autotrophs play a significant role in CO2 fixation in terrestrial ecosystem, particularly in vegetation-constrained ecosystems with environmental stresses, such as the Tibetan Plateau characterized by low temperature and high UV. However, soil microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors remain less appreciated. We investigated the structure and shift of microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors along an elevation gradient (4400-5100 m above sea level) in alpine grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau. The autotrophic microbial communities were characterized by quantitative PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), and cloning/sequencing of cbbL genes, encoding the large subunit for the CO2 fixation protein ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO). High cbbL gene abundance and high RubisCO enzyme activity were observed and both significantly increased with increasing elevations. Path analysis identified that soil RubisCO enzyme causally originated from microbial autotrophs, and its activity was indirectly driven by soil water content, temperature, and NH4 (+) content. Soil autotrophic microbial community structure dramatically shifted along the elevation and was jointly driven by soil temperature, water content, nutrients, and plant types. The autotrophic microbial communities were dominated by bacterial autotrophs, which were affiliated with Rhizobiales, Burkholderiales, and Actinomycetales. These autotrophs have been well documented to degrade organic matters; thus, metabolic versatility could be a key strategy for microbial autotrophs to survive in the harsh environments. Our results demonstrated high abundance of microbial autotrophs and high CO2 fixation potential in alpine grassland soils and provided a novel model to identify dominant drivers of soil microbial communities and their ecological functions.

  1. Does species diversity limit productivity in natural grassland communities?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grace, James B.; Anderson, T. Michael; Smith, Melinda D.; Seabloom, Eric; Andelman, Sandy J.; Meche, Gayna; Weiher, Evan; Allain, Larry K.; Jutila, Heli; Sankaran, Mahesh; Knops, Johannes; Ritchie, Mark; Willig, Michael R.

    Theoretical analyses and experimental studies of synthesized assemblages indicate that under particular circumstances species diversity can enhance community productivity through niche complementarity. It remains unclear whether this process has important effects in mature natural ecosystems where

  2. New phytotoxic diterpenoids from Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae), an endemic neotropical plant living in the endangered Brazilian biome Rupestrian grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vellozia gigantea is a rare, ancient and endemic neotropical plant present in the Brazilian Rupestrian grasslands. The dichloromethane extract of V. gigantea adventitious roots was phytotoxic against Lactuca sativa, Agrostis stolonifera and Lemna paucicostata, and showed larvicidal activity against ...

  3. Non-random co-occurrence of native and exotic plant species in Mediterranean grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Miguel, José M.; Martín-Forés, Irene; Acosta-Gallo, Belén; del Pozo, Alejandro; Ovalle, Carlos; Sánchez-Jardón, Laura; Castro, Isabel; Casado, Miguel A.

    2016-11-01

    Invasion by exotic species in Mediterranean grasslands has determined assembly patterns of native and introduced species, knowledge of which provides information on the ecological processes underlying these novel communities. We considered grasslands from Spain and Chile. For each country we considered the whole grassland community and we split species into two subsets: in Chile, species were classified as natives or colonizers (i.e. exotics); in Spain, species were classified as exclusives (present in Spain but not in Chile) or colonizers (Spanish natives and exotics into Chile). We used null models and co-occurrence indices calculated in each country for each one of 15 sites distributed along a precipitation gradient and subjected to similar silvopastoral exploitation. We compared values of species co-occurrence between countries and between species subsets (natives/colonizers in Chile; exclusives/colonizers in Spain) within each country and we characterised them according to climatic variables. We hypothesized that: a) the different coexistence time of the species in both regions should give rise to communities presenting a spatial pattern further from random in Spain than in Chile, b) the co-occurrence patterns in the grasslands are affected by mesoclimatic factors in both regions. The patterns of co-occurrence are similar in Spain and Chile, mostly showing a spatial pattern more segregated than expected by random. The colonizer species are more segregated in Spain than in Chile, possibly determined by the longer residence time of the species in the source area than in the invaded one. The segregation of species in Chile is related to water availability, being species less segregated in habitat with greater water deficit; in Spain no relationship with climatic variables was found. After an invasion process, our results suggest that the possible process of alteration of the original Chilean communities has not prevented the assembly between the native and

  4. Nitrogen transfer from forage legumes to nine neighbouring plants in a multi-species grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pirhofer-Walzl, Karin; Rasmussen, Jim; Jensen, Henning Høgh

    2012-01-01

    Legumes play a crucial role in nitrogen supply to grass-legume mixtures for ruminant fodder. To quantify N transfer from legumes to neighbouring plants in multi-species grasslands we established a grass-legume-herb mixture on a loamy-sandy site in Denmark. White clover (Trifolium repens L.), red...... amounts of N from legumes than dicotyledonous plants which generally have taproots. Slurry application mainly increased N transfer from legumes to grasses. During the growing season the three legumes transferred approximately 40 kg N ha-1 to neighbouring plants. Below-ground N transfer from legumes...

  5. The response of sward-dwelling arthropod communities to reduced grassland management intensity in pastures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Helden Alvin J.

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available We compared arthropod taxon richness, diversity and community structure of two replicated grassland husbandry experiments to investigate effects of reduced management intensity, as measured by nutrient input levels (390, 224 and 0 kg/ha per year N in one experiment, and 225 and 88 kg/ha per year N in another. Suction sampling was used to collect Araneae, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Hymenoptera, with Araneae and Coleoptera also sampled with pitfall trapping. Univariate analyses found no significant differences in abundance and species density between treatments. However, with multivariate analysis, there were significant differences in arthropod community structure between treatments in both experiments.

  6. Soil disturbance as a grassland restoration measure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schnoor, Tim; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Olsson, Pål Axel

    2015-01-01

    Soil disturbance is recognized as an important driver of biodiversity in dry grasslands, and can therefore be implemented as a restoration measure. However, because community re-assembly following disturbance includes stochastic processes, a focus only on species richness or establishment success...... to experimental disturbance treatments (ploughing or rotavation), and the vegetation was surveyed during four subsequent years of succession. Treated plots were compared with control plots representing untreated grassland, as well as nearby plots characterized by plant communities representing the restoration...

  7. DRY CALCAREOUS GRASSLAND COMMUNITIES (FILIPENDULA VULGARIS-HELICTOTRICHON PRATENSE IN WESTERN AND CENTRAL LATVIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. RUSINA

    2003-06-01

    Full Text Available The dry calcareous grassland vegetation of Westem and Central Latvia is described based on 93 rclevés, Ali relevés could be assigned to one community type Filipendula vulgaris-Helictotrichon pratense named according to dominant species. Four variants were distinguished: typicum, Viscaria vulgaris, Astragalus danicus and Carex flacca. Ellenberg indìcator values were calculated to study the ecology of communities. Floristic differences among variants are associated mainly with soil reaction (Ellenberg indicator values for soil pH range from 6.0 to 7.6, but conditions of moisture and fertility are similar among the variants. The calcareous grassland vegetation in Latvia represents transition vegetation between the c1asses Molinio-Arrhenatheretea and Festuco-Brometea. However, ecologically and floristically, these communities are closer to the class Festuco-Brometea and could be assigned to the order Brometalia. For designation to alliance and associations, more data is required. The results are compared with similar communities in other European countries.

  8. Modelling stomatal ozone flux and deposition to grassland communities across Europe

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ashmore, M.R.; Bueker, P.; Emberson, L.D.; Terry, A.C.; Toet, S.

    2007-01-01

    Regional scale modelling of both ozone deposition and the risk of ozone impacts is poorly developed for grassland communities. This paper presents new predictions of stomatal ozone flux to grasslands at five different locations in Europe, using a mechanistic model of canopy development for productive grasslands to generate time series of leaf area index and soil water potential as inputs to the stomatal component of the DO 3 SE ozone deposition model. The parameterisation of both models was based on Lolium perenne, a dominant species of productive pasture in Europe. The modelled seasonal time course of stomatal ozone flux to both the whole canopy and to upper leaves showed large differences between climatic zones, which depended on the timing of the start of the growing season, the effect of soil water potential, and the frequency of hay cuts. Values of modelled accumulated flux indices and the AOT40 index showed a five-fold difference between locations, but the locations with the highest flux differed depending on the index used; the period contributing to the accumulation of AOT40 did not always coincide with the modelled period of active ozone canopy uptake. Use of a fixed seasonal profile of leaf area index in the flux model produced very different estimates of annual accumulated total canopy and leaf ozone flux when compared with the flux model linked to a simulation of canopy growth. Regional scale model estimates of both the risks of ozone impacts and of total ozone deposition will be inaccurate unless the effects of climate and management in modifying grass canopy growth are incorporated. - Modelled stomatal flux of ozone to productive grasslands in Europe shows different spatial and temporal variation to AOT40, and is modified by management and soil water status

  9. The role of plant mycorrhizal type and status in modulating the relationship between plant and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuenkamp, Lena; Moora, Mari; Öpik, Maarja; Davison, John; Gerz, Maret; Männistö, Minna; Jairus, Teele; Vasar, Martti; Zobel, Martin

    2018-01-25

    Interactions between communities of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi shape fundamental ecosystem properties. Experimental evidence suggests that compositional changes in plant and AM fungal communities should be correlated, but empirical data from natural ecosystems are scarce. We investigated the dynamics of covariation between plant and AM fungal communities during three stages of grassland succession, and the biotic and abiotic factors shaping these dynamics. Plant communities were characterised using vegetation surveys. AM fungal communities were characterised by 454-sequencing of the small subunit rRNA gene and identification against the AM fungal reference database MaarjAM. AM fungal abundance was estimated using neutral-lipid fatty acids (NLFAs). Multivariate correlation analysis (Procrustes) revealed a significant relationship between plant and AM fungal community composition. The strength of plant-AM fungal correlation weakened during succession following cessation of grassland management, reflecting changes in the proportion of plants exhibiting different AM status. Plant-AM fungal correlation was strong when the abundance of obligate AM plants was high, and declined as the proportion of facultative AM plants increased. We conclude that the extent to which plants rely on AM symbiosis can determine how tightly communities of plants and AM fungi are interlinked, regulating community assembly of both symbiotic partners. © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.

  10. Factors that influence the beta-diversity of spider communities in northwestern Argentinean Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra M. Rodriguez-Artigas

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Beta-diversity, defined as spatial replacement in species composition, is crucial to the understanding of how local communities assemble. These changes can be driven by environmental or geographic factors (such as geographic distance, or a combination of the two. Spiders have been shown to be good indicators of environmental quality. Accordingly, spiders are used in this work as model taxa to establish whether there is a decrease in community similarity that corresponds to geographic distance in the grasslands of the Campos & Malezales ecoregion (Corrientes. Furthermore, the influence of climactic factors and local vegetation heterogeneity (environmental factors on assemblage composition was evaluated. Finally, this study evaluated whether the differential dispersal capacity of spider families is a factor that influences their community structure at a regional scale. Spiders were collected with a G-Vac from vegetation in six grassland sites in the Campos & Malezales ecoregion that were separated by a minimum of 13 km. With this data, the impact of alpha-diversity and different environmental variables on the beta-diversity of spider communities was analysed. Likewise, the importance of species replacement and nesting on beta-diversity and their contribution to the regional diversity of spider families with different dispersion capacities was evaluated. The regional and site-specific inventories obtained were complete. The similarity between spider communities declined as the geographic distance between sites increased. Environmental variables also influenced community composition; stochastic events and abiotic forces were the principal intervening factors in assembly structure. The differential dispersal capacity of spider groups also influenced community structure at a regional scale. The regional beta-diversity, as well as species replacement, was greater in high and intermediate vagility spiders; while nesting was greater in spiders with low

  11. Effects of hay management and native species sowing on grassland community structure, biomass, and restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Bryan L; Kindscher, Kelly; Houseman, Greg R; Murphy, Cheryl A

    2009-10-01

    Prairie hay meadows are important reservoirs of grassland biodiversity in the tallgrass prairie regions of the central United States and are the object of increasing attention for conservation and restoration. In addition, there is growing interest in the potential use of such low-input, high-diversity (LIHD) native grasslands for biofuel production. The uplands of eastern Kansas, USA, which prior to European settlement were dominated by tallgrass prairie, are currently utilized for intensive agriculture or exist in a state of abandonment from agriculture. The dominant grasslands in the region are currently high-input, low-diversity (HILD) hay fields seeded to introduced C3 hay grasses. We present results from a long-term experiment conducted in a recently abandoned HILD hay field in eastern Kansas to evaluate effects of fertilization, haying, and native species sowing on community dynamics, biomass, and potential for restoration to native LIHD hay meadow. Fertilized plots maintained dominance by introduced grasses, maintained low diversity, and were largely resistant to colonization throughout the study. Non-fertilized plots exhibited rapid successional turnover, increased diversity, and increased abundance of C4 grasses over time. Haying led to modest changes in species composition and lessened the negative impact of fertilization on diversity. In non-fertilized plots, sowing increased representation by native species and increased diversity, successional turnover, and biomass production. Our results support the shifting limitations hypothesis of community organization and highlight the importance of species pools and seed limitations in constraining successional turnover, community structure, and ecosystem productivity under conditions of low fertility. Our findings also indicate that several biological and functional aspects of LIHD hay meadows can be restored from abandoned HILD hay fields by ceasing fertilization and reintroducing native species through

  12. SOWING GRASSLANDS – EFFICIENT SOLUTION FOR ZOOTEHNICAL PRODUCTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VALENTINA OFELIA ROBESCU

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment is critical for the maintenance of plant populations and community diversity, but sexual regeneration is considered to be infrequent in climatically harsh habitats such as sub alpine grasslands. For this reasons it is very important to improve the grassland. In this paper we study the interaction among milk production, fertilizations and flower composition in sub alpine grasslands. The agrochemical indicators are important because they influence the pasture value and at the final the milk production.

  13. How Fencing Affects the Soil Quality and Plant Biomass in the Grassland of the Loess Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeng, Quanchao; Liu, Yang; Xiao, Li; Huang, Yimei

    2017-09-25

    Overgrazing is a severe problem in several regions in Northwestern China and has caused serious land degradation. Secondary natural succession plays an important role in the accumulation of soil carbon and nitrogen contents. Estimating the effects of grazing exclusion on soil quality and plant diversity will improve our understanding of the succession process after overgrazing and promote judicious management of degraded pastures. This experiment was designed to measure soil properties and plant diversity following an age chronosequence of grasslands (ages ranged from one year, 12 years, 20 years, and 30 years) in Northwestern China. The results showed that continuous fencing resulted in a considerable increase in plant coverage, plant biomass (above- and below-ground biomass), and plant diversity, which can directly or indirectly improve the accumulation of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content. The plant coverage and the above- and below-ground biomass linearly increased along the succession time, whereas soil organic C and N contents showed a significant decline in the first 12 years and, subsequently, a significant increase. The increased plant biomass caused an increase in soil organic carbon and soil total nitrogen. These results suggested that soil restoration and plant cover were an incongruous process. Generally, soil restoration is a slow process and falls behind vegetation recovery after grazing exclusion. Although the accumulation of soil C and N stocks needed a long term, vegetation restoration was a considerable option for the degraded grassland due to the significant increase of plant biomass, diversity, and soil C and N stocks. Therefore, fencing with natural succession should be considered in the design of future degraded pastures.

  14. Effects of below-ground insects, mycorrhizal fungi and soil fertility on the establishment of Vicia in grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganade, G; Brown, V K

    1997-02-01

     The effects of, and interactions between, insect root feeders, vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and soil fertility on the establishment, growth and reproduction of Vicia sativa and V. hirsuta (Fabaceae) were investigated in an early-successional grassland community. Seeds of both species were sown into plots where soil insecticide (Dursban 5G), soil fungicide (Rovral) and soil fertiliser (NPK) were applied in a factorial randomised block design. Fertiliser addition reduced growth, longevity and reproduction of both Vicia species, due to the commonly recorded increase in the competitive advantage of the non-nitrogen-fixing species when nitrogen is added to the plant community. However, in plots where fertiliser was not applied, a reduction in root feeders and mycorrhizal infection led to an increase in seedling establishment and fruit production of V. sativa, and to an increase in flower production for both Vicia species. The interaction between all three soil treatments explained much of the variation in growth and longevity of V. sativa. Plants grew larger and survived longer in plots where natural levels of mycorrhizal infection and root feeders were low compared with plots where all the treatments were applied. This suggests that, although soil nutrient availability was a strong determinant of the performance of these two leguminous species, at natural levels of soil fertility biotic factors acting in the soil, such as mycorrhizal fungi and soil-dwelling insects, were important in shaping the competitive interactions between the two Vicia species and the plant community. Our results indicate that non-additive interactions between ecological factors in the soil environment may strongly affect plant performance.

  15. Assessing the Impact of Spectral Resolution on Classification of Lowland Native Grassland Communities Based on Field Spectroscopy in Tasmania, Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bethany Melville

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a case study for the analysis of endangered lowland native grassland communities in the Tasmanian Midlands region using field spectroscopy and spectral convolution techniques. The aim of the study was to determine whether there was significant improvement in classification accuracy for lowland native grasslands and other vegetation communities based on hyperspectral resolution datasets over multispectral equivalents. A spectral dataset was collected using an ASD Handheld-2 spectroradiometer at Tunbridge Township Lagoon. The study then employed a k-fold cross-validation approach for repeated classification of a full hyperspectral dataset, a reduced hyperspectral dataset, and two convoluted multispectral datasets. Classification was performed on each of the four datasets a total of 30 times, based on two different class configurations. The classes analysed were Themeda triandra grassland, Danthonia/Poa grassland, Wilsonia rotundifolia/Selliera radicans, saltpan, and a simplified C3 vegetation class. The results of the classifications were then tested for statistically significant differences using ANOVA and Tukey’s post-hoc comparisons. The results of the study indicated that hyperspectral resolution provides small but statistically significant increases in classification accuracy for Themeda and Danthonia grasslands. For other classes, differences in classification accuracy for all datasets were not statistically significant. The results obtained here indicate that there is some potential for enhanced detection of major lowland native grassland community types using hyperspectral resolution datasets, and that future analysis should prioritise good performance in these classes over others. This study presents a method for identification of optimal spectral resolution across multiple datasets, and constitutes an important case study for lowland native grassland mapping in Tasmania.

  16. Diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in grassland spontaneously developed on area polluted by a fertilizer plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Renker, C.; Blanke, V.; Buscot, F.

    2005-01-01

    Mycorrhizal colonization and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were analyzed in a calcareous grassland with residual phosphate contamination 10 years after the closure of a pollutant fertilizer plant in Thuringia (Germany). AMF were detected in 21 of 22 plant species analyzed. Mean mycorrhization levels reached up to 74.5% root length colonized. AMF diversity was analyzed based on 104 sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a total of 6 species all belonging to the genus Glomus. There was no overlap between species detected as active mycorrhizas on roots (2 taxa) or as spores (4 taxa). Compared to the regional context, the diversity of AMF at our field site was reduced, which may reflect a residual disturbance effect. However, none of the detected species was exclusive to the polluted site as they are commonly found in the region. - Almost all plant species were mycorrhizal

  17. Altered Plant Litter and Microbial Composition Lead to Topsoil Organic Carbon Loss Over a Shrub-encroachment Gradient in an Inner Mongolia Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, L.; Li, H.; Shen, H.; Xu, Y.; Wang, Y.; Xing, A.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    Over the past 150 years, shrub encroachment has occurred in arid and semi-arid ecosystems resulting from climate change and increased human disturbance. Previous studies have revealed that shrub encroachment has substantial effects on habitat heterogeneity, aboveground biomass and bulk carbon content of grasslands, thereby affecting the regional carbon balance. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is mainly derived from aboveground litter, root litter and root exudates and is metabolized by microorganisms. The quality and quantity of plant litter together with soil microbial biomass are important drivers of SOC accumulation. However, the mechanisms regulating soil carbon accumulation by the shrub encroachment remain unclear and molecular evidence is particularly lacking. We use the data of the chemical composition of plant tissues and SOC, and the soil microbial communities to identify the effects of shrub encroachment on SOC accumulation in the top layer along a gradient of natural shrub cover in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Our finding indicates that nitrogen-rich legume-shrub encroachment led to soil carbon accumulation in the shrub patch, with more extensive carbon loss observed in the grassy matrix, which resulted in an overall carbon loss. In the pure grassland, a higher abundance of cutin and suberin and a lower concentration of free lipids were detected, suggesting the preservation of recalcitrant polymers derived from herb inputs. In the shrub-encroached grasslands, the labile shrub leaves did not decompose alone but were mixed with herb litter to promote the degradation of SOC via the priming of microbial activities. The SOC remained unchanged in the shrub patches with the increasing shrub cover, which might have been caused by the replacement of prior carbon decompositions with the fresh input of shrub leaves. Similarly, the SOC decreased significantly with increasing shrub cover in the grassy matrix, which likely resulted from insufficient fresh plant inputs

  18. Grassland communities of urban open spaces in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mamokete N.V. Dingaan

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Natural vegetation in urban environments is greatly impacted by human activities and it is in constant threat of degradation and destruction as a result of urbanisation. This vegetation, although fragmented, serves an important ecological function and needs to be properly managed and conserved. Studies on urban vegetation are lacking in South Africa, with only a handful having been carried out since the end of the last century. This study was initiated to identify, classify and describe the grassland communities of the urban open spaces in Bloemfontein. Relevés were compiled in 61 sample plots, where species present and habitat information were recorded. Care was taken to restrict sample plots to vegetation in pristine condition, wherever possible, and severely degraded stands were avoided. A two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN classification, refined by Braun-Blanquet procedures, revealed two distinct major communities, seven communities and four sub-communities. Both detrended and canonical correspondence analyses indicated the vegetation units to be associated with soil texture and pH, although biotic factors such as overgrazing, burning and mowing also influence the composition of the vegetation. The proper management and conservation of urban open spaces requires in-depth knowledge of the spatial distribution, floristic, structural and functional compositions within the major vegetation types in this environment. The present study further contributed towards formulating ways for the proper management, utilisation and functioning of the open spaces within the Bloemfontein area.Conservation implications: The Grassland Biome of South Africa is poorly conserved, mainly because of its status as an agricultural hub of the country. The preservation of natural and semi-natural forms of urban vegetation is important because such vegetation, although often disturbed and degraded, could form dispersal corridors between peri-urban and rural

  19. Soil Bacterial and Fungal Community Structure Across a Range of Unimproved and Semi-Improved Upland Grasslands

    OpenAIRE

    Kennedy, Nabla; Edwards, Suzanne; Clipson, Nicholas

    2005-01-01

    Changes in soil microbial community structure due to improvement are often attributed to concurrent shifts in floristic community composition. The bacterial and fungal communities of unimproved and semi-improved (as determined by floristic classification) grassland soils were studied at five upland sites on similar geological substrata using both broad-scale (microbial activity and fungal biomass) and molecular [terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP)...

  20. Long-term reactions of plants and macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in floodplain grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilg, Christiane; Dziock, Frank; Foeckler, Francis; Follner, Klaus; Gerisch, Michael; Glaeser, Judith; Rink, Anke; Schanowski, Arno; Scholz, Mathias; Deichner, Oskar; Henle, Klaus

    2008-09-01

    Extreme summertime flood events are expected to become more frequent in European rivers due to climate change. In temperate areas, where winter floods are common, extreme floods occurring in summer, a period of high physiological activity, may seriously impact floodplain ecosystems. Here we report on the effects of the 2002 extreme summer flood on flora and fauna of the riverine grasslands of the Middle Elbe (Germany), comparing pre- and post-flooding data collected by identical methods. Plants, mollusks, and carabid beetles differed considerably in their response in terms of abundance and diversity. Plants and mollusks, displaying morphological and behavioral adaptations to flooding, showed higher survival rates than the carabid beetles, the adaptation strategies of which were mainly linked to life history. Our results illustrate the complexity of responses of floodplain organisms to extreme flood events. They demonstrate that the efficiency of resistance and resilience strategies is widely dependent on the mode of adaptation.

  1. The interplay of stress and mowing disturbance for the intensity and importance of plant interactions in dry calcareous grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maalouf, Jean-Paul; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Marchand, Lilian; Touzard, Blaise; Michalet, Richard

    2012-09-01

    There is still debate regarding the direction and strength of plant interactions under intermediate to high levels of stress. Furthermore, little is known on how disturbance may interact with physical stress in unproductive environments, although recent theory and models have shown that this interplay may induce a collapse of plant interactions and diversity. The few studies assessing such questions have considered the intensity of biotic interactions but not their importance, although this latter concept has been shown to be very useful for understanding the role of interactions in plant communities. The objective of this study was to assess the interplay between stress and disturbance for plant interactions in dry calcareous grasslands. A field experiment was set up in the Dordogne, southern France, where the importance and intensity of biotic interactions undergone by four species were measured along a water stress gradient, and with and without mowing disturbance. The importance and intensity of interactions varied in a very similar way along treatments. Under undisturbed conditions, plant interactions switched from competition to neutral with increasing water stress for three of the four species, whereas the fourth species was not subject to any significant biotic interaction along the gradient. Responses to disturbance were more species-specific; for two species, competition disappeared with mowing in the wettest conditions, whereas for the two other species, competition switched to facilitation with mowing. Finally, there were no significant interactions for any species in the disturbed and driest conditions. At very high levels of stress, plant performances become too weak to allow either competition or facilitation and disturbance may accelerate the collapse of interactions in dry conditions. The results suggest that the importance and direction of interactions are more likely to be positively related in stressful environments.

  2. Local-scale spatial structure and community composition of orchid mycorrhizal fungi in semi-natural grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Oja, J.; Vahtra, J.; Bahram, M.; Kohout, Petr; Kull, T.; Rannap, R.; Köljalg, U.; Tedersoo, L.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 27, č. 4 (2017), s. 355-367 ISSN 0940-6360 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : mycorrhiza * orchids * fungal community composition * calcareous grassland * spatial distribution * grazing intensity Subject RIV: EF - Botanics OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 3.047, year: 2016

  3. Local Environmental Factors Drive Divergent Grassland Soil Bacterial Communities in the Western Swiss Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yashiro, Erika; Pinto-Figueroa, Eric; Buri, Aline; Spangenberg, Jorge E; Adatte, Thierry; Niculita-Hirzel, Hélène; Guisan, Antoine; van der Meer, Jan Roelof

    2016-11-01

    Mountain ecosystems are characterized by a diverse range of climatic and topographic conditions over short distances and are known to shelter a high biodiversity. Despite important progress, still little is known on bacterial diversity in mountain areas. Here, we investigated soil bacterial biogeography at more than 100 sampling sites randomly stratified across a 700-km 2 area with 2,200-m elevation gradient in the western Swiss Alps. Bacterial grassland communities were highly diverse, with 12,741 total operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across 100 sites and an average of 2,918 OTUs per site. Bacterial community structure was correlated with local climatic, topographic, and soil physicochemical parameters with high statistical significance. We found pH (correlated with % CaO and % mineral carbon), hydrogen index (correlated with bulk gravimetric water content), and annual average number of frost days during the growing season to be among the groups of the most important environmental drivers of bacterial community structure. In contrast, bacterial community structure was only weakly stratified as a function of elevation. Contrasting patterns were discovered for individual bacterial taxa. Acidobacteria responded both positively and negatively to pH extremes. Various families within the Bacteroidetes responded to available phosphorus levels. Different verrucomicrobial groups responded to electrical conductivity, total organic carbon, water content, and mineral carbon contents. Alpine grassland bacterial communities are thus highly diverse, which is likely due to the large variety of different environmental conditions. These results shed new light on the biodiversity of mountain ecosystems, which were already identified as potentially fragile to anthropogenic influences and climate change. This article addresses the question of how microbial communities in alpine regions are dependent on local climatic and soil physicochemical variables. We benefit from a unique 700

  4. Weed suppression greatly increased by plant diversity in intensively managed grasslands: A continental-scale experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, John; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa; Kirwan, Laura; Finn, John Anthony; Llurba, Rosa; Suter, Matthias; Collins, Rosemary P; Porqueddu, Claudio; Helgadóttir, Áslaug; Baadshaug, Ole H; Bélanger, Gilles; Black, Alistair; Brophy, Caroline; Čop, Jure; Dalmannsdóttir, Sigridur; Delgado, Ignacio; Elgersma, Anjo; Fothergill, Michael; Frankow-Lindberg, Bodil E; Ghesquiere, An; Golinski, Piotr; Grieu, Philippe; Gustavsson, Anne-Maj; Höglind, Mats; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier; Jørgensen, Marit; Kadziuliene, Zydre; Lunnan, Tor; Nykanen-Kurki, Paivi; Ribas, Angela; Taube, Friedhelm; Thumm, Ulrich; De Vliegher, Alex; Lüscher, Andreas

    2018-03-01

    Grassland diversity can support sustainable intensification of grassland production through increased yields, reduced inputs and limited weed invasion. We report the effects of diversity on weed suppression from 3 years of a 31-site continental-scale field experiment.At each site, 15 grassland communities comprising four monocultures and 11 four-species mixtures based on a wide range of species' proportions were sown at two densities and managed by cutting. Forage species were selected according to two crossed functional traits, "method of nitrogen acquisition" and "pattern of temporal development".Across sites, years and sown densities, annual weed biomass in mixtures and monocultures was 0.5 and 2.0 t  DM ha -1 (7% and 33% of total biomass respectively). Over 95% of mixtures had weed biomass lower than the average of monocultures, and in two-thirds of cases, lower than in the most suppressive monoculture (transgressive suppression). Suppression was significantly transgressive for 58% of site-years. Transgressive suppression by mixtures was maintained across years, independent of site productivity.Based on models, average weed biomass in mixture over the whole experiment was 52% less (95% confidence interval: 30%-75%) than in the most suppressive monoculture. Transgressive suppression of weed biomass was significant at each year across all mixtures and for each mixture.Weed biomass was consistently low across all mixtures and years and was in some cases significantly but not largely different from that in the equiproportional mixture. The average variability (standard deviation) of annual weed biomass within a site was much lower for mixtures (0.42) than for monocultures (1.77). Synthesis and applications . Weed invasion can be diminished through a combination of forage species selected for complementarity and persistence traits in systems designed to reduce reliance on fertiliser nitrogen. In this study, effects of diversity on weed suppression were

  5. Properties of native plant communities do not determine exotic success during early forest succession

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aldo Compagnoni; Charles B. Halpern

    2009-01-01

    Considerable research has been devoted to understanding how plant invasions are influenced by properties of the native community and to the traits of exotic species that contribute to successful invasion. Studies of invasibility are common in successionally stable grasslands, but rare in recently disturbed or seral forests. We used 16 years of species richness and...

  6. Relationship between plant biodiversity and heavy metal bioavailability in grasslands overlying an abandoned mine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernández, A J; Pastor, J

    2008-04-01

    Abandoned metal mines in the Sierra de Guadarrama, Madrid, Spain, are often located in areas of high ecological value. This is true of an abandoned barium mine situated in the heart of a bird sanctuary. Today the area sustains grasslands, interspersed with oakwood formations of Quercus ilex and heywood scrub (Retama sphaerocarpa L.), used by cattle, sheep and wild animals. Our study was designed to establish a relationship between the plant biodiversity of these grasslands and the bioavailability of heavy metals in the topsoil layer of this abandoned mine. We conducted soil chemical analyses and performed a greenhouse evaluation of the effects of different soil heavy metal concentrations on biodiversity. The greenhouse bioassays were run for 6 months using soil samples obtained from the mine polluted with heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd) and from a control pasture. Soil heavy metal and Na concentrations, along with the pH, had intense negative effects on plant biodiversity, as determined through changes in the Shannon index and species richness. Numbers of grasses, legumes, and composites were reduced, whilst other species (including ruderals) were affected to a lesser extent. Zinc had the greatest effect on biodiversity, followed by Cd and Cu. When we compared the sensitivity of the biodiversity indicators to the different metal content variables, pseudototal metal concentrations determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) were the most sensitive, followed by available and soluble metal contents. Worse correlations between biodiversity variables and metal variables were shown by pseudototal contents obtained by plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Our results highlight the importance of using as many different indicators as possible to reliably assess the response shown by plants to heavy metal soil pollution.

  7. Prescribed-fire effects on an aquatic community of a southwest montane grassland system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caldwell, Colleen A.; Jacobi, Gerald Z.; Anderson, Michael C.; Parmenter, Robert R.; McGann, Jeanine; Gould, William R.; DuBey, Robert; Jacobi, M. Donna

    2013-01-01

    The use of prescription fire has long been recognized as a reliable management tool to suppress vegetative succession processes and to reduce fuel loading to prevent catastrophic wildfires, but very little attention has been paid to the effects on aquatic systems. A late-fall prescribed burn was implemented to characterize effects on an aquatic community within a montane grassland system in north-central New Mexico. The fire treatment was consistent with protocols of a managed burn except that the fire was allowed to burn through the riparian area to the treatment stream to replicate natural fire behavior. In addition to summer and fall preburn assessment of the treatment and reference stream, we characterized immediate postfire effects (within a week for macroinvertebrates and within 6 months for fish) and seasonal effects over a 2-year period. Responses within the treatment stream were compared with an unburned reference stream adjacent to the prescription burn. During the burn, the diel range in air temperature increased by 5°C while diel range in water temperature did not change. Carbon–nitrogen ratios did not differ between treatment and reference streams, indicating the contribution of ash from the surrounding grassland was negligible. Although total taxa and species richness of aquatic macroinvertebrates were not altered, qualitative indices revealed departure from preburn condition due to loss of sensitive taxa (mayflies [order Ephemeroptera] and stoneflies [order Plecoptera]) and an increase in tolerant taxa (midges [order Chironomidae]) following the burn. Within 1 year of the burn, these attributes returned to preburn conditions. The density and recruitment of adult Brown Trout Salmo trutta did not differ between pre- and postburn collections, nor did fish condition differ. Fire is rarely truly replicated within a given study. Although our study represents one replication, the results will inform managers about the importance in timing (seasonality

  8. Responses of a grassland arthropod community to chronic beta and gamma radiation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Styron, C.E.; Dodson, G.J.; Beauchamp, J.J.; Miller, F.L. Jr.

    1976-01-01

    A long-term project was initiated in 1968 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to assess effects of mixed beta and gamma radiation from simulated fallout on a grassland ecosystem. Beta and gamma radiation dose rates in microhabitats of the experimentally contaminated enclosure were measured with LiF thermoluminescent microdosimeters. Extensive statistical analyses of data on numbers of individuals collected for each of 76 arthropod and 2 molluscan taxa have identified no lasting significant changes in similarity or species diversity of experimental versus control communities as the result of the long-term irradiation at low dose rates. Natural fluctuations in community dynamics obscured any possible radiation effects. Thus, the apparent threshold for mixed beta and gamma radiation inducing changes in community structure must be above the exposure rate range of 2.3 to 13 rad/day delivered during the 5 yr of observation. Establishing such a threshold is of importance in assessing the impact of communities subjected to chronic, low level environmental exposure to ionizing radiation

  9. Broad-Scale Comparison of Photosynthesis in Terrestrial and Aquatic Plant Communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sand-Jensen, Kaj; Krause-Jensen, D.

    1997-01-01

    Comparisons of photosynthesis in terrestrial and aquatic habitats have been impaired by differences in methods and time-scales of measurements. We compiled information on gross photosynthesis at high irradiance and photosynthetic efficiency at low irradiance from 109 published terrestrial studies...... communities probably due to more efficient light utilization and gas exchange in the terrestrial habitats. By contrast only small differences were found within different aquatic plant communities or within different terrestrial plant communities....... of forests, grasslands and crops and 319 aquatic studies of phytoplankton, macrophyte and attached microalgal communities to test if specific differences existed between the communities. Maximum gross photosynthesis and photosynthetic efficiency were systematically higher in terrestrial than in aquatic...

  10. Grazing damage to plants and gastropod and grasshopper densities in a CO 2-enrichment experiment on calcareous grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ledergerber, Stephan; Thommen, G. Heinrich; Baur, Bruno

    Plant-herbivore interactions may change as atmospheric CO 2 concentrations continue to rise. We examined the effects of elevated atmospheric CO 2 and CO 2-exposure chambers on the grazing damage to plants, and on the abundances of potential herbivores (terrestrial gastropods and grasshoppers) in a calcareous grassland in the Jura mountains of Switzerland (village of Nenzlingen). Individuals of most plant species examined showed slight grazing damage. However, plots with CO 2 enrichment and plots with ambient atmosphere did not differ in the extent of grazing damage. Similarly, plots with CO 2 enrichment and plots with ambient atmosphere did not differ in either gastropod or grasshopper density. Experimental plots with and without chambers did not differ in the number of gastropods. However, the densities of gastropods and grasshoppers and extent of grazing damage to plants were generally lower in the experimental area than in the grassland outside the experimental field.

  11. Does plant diversity affect the water balance of established grassland systems?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leimer, Sophia; Bischoff, Sebastian; Blaser, Stefan; Boch, Steffen; Busch, Verena; Escher, Peter; Fischer, Markus; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Kerber, Katja; Klaus, Valentin; Michalzik, Beate; Prati, Daniel; Schäfer, Deborah; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schwarz, Martin T.; Siemens, Jan; Thieme, Lisa; Wilcke, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    The water cycle drives nutrient cycles and plant productivity. The impact of land use on the water cycle has been extensively studied and there is experimental evidence that biodiversity modifies the water cycle in grasslands. However, the combined influences of land-use and associated biodiversity on the water cycle in established land-use systems are unclear. Therefore, we investigated how evapotranspiration (ETa), downward water flux (DF), and capillary rise (CR) in topsoil and subsoil are related to land-use and plant diversity in established, commercially managed grassland and compared these results to findings from experiments where plant diversity was manipulated. In three Central European regions ("Biodiversity Exploratories"), we studied 29 grassland plots (50 m x 50 m; 9-11 plots per region) from 2010 to 2015. The land-use types cover pasture, mown pasture, and meadow in at least triplicate per region. On each plot, we measured soil water contents, meteorological data (hourly resolution), cumulative precipitation (biweekly), plant species richness, the number of plants in the functional groups of grasses, herbs, and legumes (annually), and root biomass (once). Potential evapotranspiration (ETp) was calculated from meteorological data per plot. Missing data points of ETp and soil water contents were estimated with Bayesian hierarchical models. ETa, DF, and CR were calculated for two soil layers with a soil water balance model. The model is based on changes in soil water storage between subsequent observation dates and ETp, which was partitioned between soil layers according to root distribution. Water fluxes in annual resolution were statistically analyzed for land-use and biodiversity effects using repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Land-use type did not affect water fluxes. Species richness did not influence DF and CR. DF from topsoil was higher on plots with more grass species, which is opposite to the results from a manipulative

  12. Diversity effects on root length production and loss in an experimental grassland community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mommer, L.; Padilla, F.M.; Ruijven, van J.; Caluwe, de H.; Smit-Tiekstra, A.E.; Berendse, F.; Kroon, de H.

    2015-01-01

    Advances in root ecology have revealed that root standing biomass is higher in species-rich plant communities than in species-poor communities. Currently, we do not know whether this below-ground diversity effect is the result of enhanced root production or reduced root mortality or both, which is

  13. Contributions of gopher mound and casting disturbances to plant community structure in a Cascade Range meadow complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    M. Case; C.B. Halpern; S.A. Levin

    2013-01-01

    Pocket gophers (Geomyidae) are major agents of disturbance in North American grasslands. Gopher mounds bury existing plants and influence community structure through various mechanisms. However, in mountain meadows that experience winter snowpack, gophers also create winter castings, smaller tube-shaped deposits, previously ignored in studies of plant–gopher...

  14. Short-term responses and resistance of soil microbial community structure to elevated CO2 and N addition in grassland mesocosms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simonin, Marie; Nunan, Naoise; Bloor, Juliette M G; Pouteau, Valérie; Niboyet, Audrey

    2017-05-01

    Nitrogen (N) addition is known to affect soil microbial communities, but the interactive effects of N addition with other drivers of global change remain unclear. The impacts of multiple global changes on the structure of microbial communities may be mediated by specific microbial groups with different life-history strategies. Here, we investigated the combined effects of elevated CO2 and N addition on soil microbial communities using PLFA profiling in a short-term grassland mesocosm experiment. We also examined the linkages between the relative abundance of r- and K-strategist microorganisms and resistance of the microbial community structure to experimental treatments. N addition had a significant effect on microbial community structure, likely driven by concurrent increases in plant biomass and in soil labile C and N. In contrast, microbial community structure did not change under elevated CO2 or show significant CO2 × N interactions. Resistance of soil microbial community structure decreased with increasing fungal/bacterial ratio, but showed a positive relationship with the Gram-positive/Gram-negative bacterial ratio. Our findings suggest that the Gram-positive/Gram-negative bacteria ratio may be a useful indicator of microbial community resistance and that K-strategist abundance may play a role in the short-term stability of microbial communities under global change. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  15. Mountain Plant Community Sentinels: AWOL

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malanson, G. P.

    2017-12-01

    Mountain plant communities are thought to be sensitive to climate change. Because climatic gradients are steep on mountain slopes, the spatial response of plant communities to climate change should be compressed and easier to detect. These expectations have led to identifying mountain plant communities as sentinels for climate change. This idea has, however, been criticized. Two critiques, for alpine treeline and alpine tundra, are rehearsed and supplemented. The critique of alpine treeline as sentinel is bolstered with new model results on the confounding role of dispersal mechanisms and sensitivity to climatic volatility. In alpine tundra, for which background turnover rates have yet to be established, community composition may reflect environmental gradients only for extremes where effects of climate are most indirect. Both plant communities, while primarily determined by energy at broad scales, may respond to water as a proximate driver at local scales. These plant communities may not be in equilibrium with climate, and differently scaled time lags may mean that ongoing vegetation change may not signal ongoing climate change (or lack thereof). In both cases a double-whammy is created by scale dependence for time lags and for drivers leading to confusion, but these cases present opportunities for insights into basic ecology.

  16. Distribution of dominant arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi among five plant species in undisturbed vegetation of a coastal grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holtgrewe-Stukenbrock, Eva; Rosendahl, Søren

    2005-01-01

    Most plant species in mixed grassland vegetation are colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Previous studies have reported differences in host preferences among AM fungi, although the fungi are known to lack host specificity. In the present study, the distribution of phylogenetic groups...... of AM fungi belonging to a clade of Glomus species was studied in five plant species from a coastal grassland in Denmark. The occurrence of the fungi was determined by PCR analyses of fungal large subunit ribosomal DNA sequences amplified from root fragments using a specific primer set. The results...... showed that the dominant Glomus species were able to colonize all the studied plant species, supporting the view that the AM fungi represent a large underground interconnecting mycelial network....

  17. Plant effects on soil carbon storage and turnover in montane beech (Nothofagus) forest and adjacent tussock grassland in New Zealand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tate, K.R.; Scott, N.A.; Ross, D.J.; Parshotam, A.; Claydon, J.J.

    2000-01-01

    Land cover is a critical factor that influences, and is influenced by, atmospheric chemistry and potential climate changes. As considerable uncertainty exists about the effects of differences in land cover on below-ground carbon (C) storage, we have compared soil C contents and turnover at adjacent, unmanaged, indigenous forest (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortiodes) and grassland (Chionochloa pallens) sites near the timberline in the same climo-edaphic environment in Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury, New Zealand. Total soil profile C was 13% higher in the grassland than in the forest ( 19.9 v. 16.7 kg/m 2 ), and based on bomb 14 C measurements, the differences mainly resulted from more recalcitrant soil C in the grassland (5.3 v. 3.0 kg/m 2 ). Estimated annual net primary production was about 0.4 kg C/m 2 for the forest and 0.5 kg C/m 2 for the grassland; estimated annual root production was about 0.2 and 0.4 kg C/m 2 , respectively. In situ soil surface CO 2 -C production was similar in the grassland and the forest. The accumulation of recalcitrant soil C was unrelated to differences in mineral weathering or soil texture, but was apparently enhanced by greater soil water retention in the grassland ecosystem. Thus, contrary to model (ROTHC) predictions, this soil C fraction could be expected to respond to the effects of climate change on precipitation patterns. Overall, our results suggest that the different patterns of soil C accumulation in these ecosystems have resulted from differences in plant C inputs, soil aluminium, and soil physical characteristics, rather than from differences in soil mineral weathering or texture. Copyright (2000) CSIRO Australia

  18. Evaluating plant-soil feedback together with competition in a serpentine grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casper, Brenda B; Castelli, Jeffrey P

    2007-05-01

    Plants can alter biotic and abiotic soil characteristics in ways that feedback to change the performance of that same plant species relative to co-occurring plants. Most evidence for this plant-soil feedback comes from greenhouse studies of potted plants, and consequently, little is known about the importance of feedback in relation to other biological processes known to structure plant communities, such as plant-plant competition. In a field experiment with three C4 grasses, negative feedback was expressed through reduced survival and shoot biomass when seedlings were planted within existing clumps of conspecifics compared with clumps of heterospecifics. However, the combined effects of feedback and competition were species-specific. Only Andropogon gerardii exhibited feedback when competition with the clumps was allowed. For Sorghastrum nutans, strong interspecific competition eliminated the feedback expressed in the absence of competition, and Schizachyrium scoparium showed no feedback at all. That arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may play a role in the feedback was indicated by higher AM root colonization with conspecific plant neighbours. We suggest that feedback and competition should not be viewed as entirely separate processes and that their importance in structuring plant communities cannot be judged in isolation from each other.

  19. Different Land Use Intensities in Grassland Ecosystems Drive Ecology of Microbial Communities Involved in Nitrogen Turnover in Soil

    OpenAIRE

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Sch?ning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions,...

  20. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hertzog, Lionel R.; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  1. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hertzog, Lionel R; Meyer, Sebastian T; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  2. Balance matters : N:P stoichiometry and plant diversity in grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fujita, Y.

    2010-01-01

    Eutrophication of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) is threatening the functioning and biodiversity of grassland ecosystems. A well known effect of eutrophication on grasslands is an increase of above-ground productivity, which intensifies light competition and allows only a few competitive species to

  3. Vascular plants and a brief history of the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donald L. Hazlett; Michael H. Schiebout; Paulette L. Ford

    2009-01-01

    Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands occupy 230,000 acres of public land extending from northeastern New Mexico into the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. A mosaic of topographic features including canyons, plateaus, rolling grasslands and outcrops supports a diverse flora. Eight hundred twenty six (826) species of...

  4. Changes in the microbial community structure of bacteria, archaea and fungi in response to elevated CO(2) and warming in an Australian native grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayden, Helen L; Mele, Pauline M; Bougoure, Damian S; Allan, Claire Y; Norng, Sorn; Piceno, Yvette M; Brodie, Eoin L; Desantis, Todd Z; Andersen, Gary L; Williams, Amity L; Hovenden, Mark J

    2012-12-01

    The microbial community structure of bacteria, archaea and fungi is described in an Australian native grassland soil after more than 5 years exposure to different atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2]) (ambient, +550 ppm) and temperatures (ambient, + 2°C) under different plant functional types (C3 and C4 grasses) and at two soil depths (0-5 cm and 5-10 cm). Archaeal community diversity was influenced by elevated [CO2], while under warming archaeal 16S rRNA gene copy numbers increased for C4 plant Themeda triandra and decreased for the C3 plant community (P fungi in soil responded differently to elevated [CO2], warming and their interaction. Taxa identified as significantly climate-responsive could show differing trends in the direction of response ('+' or '-') under elevated CO2 or warming, which could then not be used to predict their interactive effects supporting the need to investigate interactive effects for climate change. The approach of focusing on specific taxonomic groups provides greater potential for understanding complex microbial community changes in ecosystems under climate change. © 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  5. Ecosystem-scale fluxes in seminatural Pyrenean grasslands: role of annual dynamics of plant functional types

    Science.gov (United States)

    Altimir, Nuria; Ibañez, Mercedes; Elbers, Jan; Rota, Cristina; Arias, Claudia; Carrara, Arnaud; Nogues, Salvador; Sebastia, Maria-Teresa

    2013-04-01

    The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and the annual C balance of a site are in general modulated by light, temperature and availability of water and other resources to the plants. In grasslands, NEE is expected to depend strongly on the vegetation with a relationship that can be summarized by the above-ground biomass, its amount and dynamics. Any factor controlling the amount of green biomass is expected to have a strong impact on the short-term NEE, such as amount of solar radiation, water availability and grazing pressure. These controls are modulated differently depending on the plant functional type enduring them. Furthermore, as different guilds follow different functional strategies for optimization of the resources, they also present different patterns of change in their capacities such as photosynthetic fixation, belowground C allocation, and C loss via respiration. We examined these relationships at several semi-natural pastures to determine how the seasonal distribution of plant functional types is detected in the short-term ecosystem exchange and what role it plays. We have looked into these patterns to determine the general variation of key processes and whether different temporal patterns arise between different guilds. The study sites are in the Pyrenees, on the mountain pastures of La Bertolina, Alinyà, and Castellar at 1300, 1700, 1900 m a.s.l. respectively. We performed ecosystem-scale flux measurements by means of micrometeorologial stations combined with a thorough description of the vegetation including below- and above-ground biomass and leaf area as well as monitoring of natural abundance of C isotopes, discriminated by plant functional types. We present here the results of the study.

  6. Community-Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilja Sonnemann

    Full Text Available Small scale distribution of insect root herbivores may promote plant species diversity by creating patches of different herbivore pressure. However, determinants of small scale distribution of insect root herbivores, and impact of land use intensity on their small scale distribution are largely unknown. We sampled insect root herbivores and measured vegetation parameters and soil water content along transects in grasslands of different management intensity in three regions in Germany. We calculated community-weighted mean plant traits to test whether the functional plant community composition determines the small scale distribution of insect root herbivores. To analyze spatial patterns in plant species and trait composition and insect root herbivore abundance we computed Mantel correlograms. Insect root herbivores mainly comprised click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae larvae (43% in the investigated grasslands. Total insect root herbivore numbers were positively related to community-weighted mean traits indicating high plant growth rates and biomass (specific leaf area, reproductive- and vegetative plant height, and negatively related to plant traits indicating poor tissue quality (leaf C/N ratio. Generalist Elaterid larvae, when analyzed independently, were also positively related to high plant growth rates and furthermore to root dry mass, but were not related to tissue quality. Insect root herbivore numbers were not related to plant cover, plant species richness and soil water content. Plant species composition and to a lesser extent plant trait composition displayed spatial autocorrelation, which was not influenced by land use intensity. Insect root herbivore abundance was not spatially autocorrelated. We conclude that in semi-natural grasslands with a high share of generalist insect root herbivores, insect root herbivores affiliate with large, fast growing plants, presumably because of availability of high quantities of food. Affiliation of

  7. Ozone pollution affects flower numbers and timing in a simulated BAP priority calcareous grassland community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hayes, Felicity; Williamson, Jennifer; Mills, Gina

    2012-01-01

    Mesocosms representing the BAP Priority habitat ‘Calcareous Grassland’ were exposed to eight ozone profiles for twelve-weeks in two consecutive years. Half of the mesocosms received a reduced watering regime during the exposure periods. Numbers and timing of flowering in the second exposure period were related to ozone concentration and phytotoxic ozone dose (accumulated stomatal flux). For Lotus corniculatus, ozone accelerated the timing of the maximum number of flowers. An increase in mean ozone concentration from 30 ppb to 70 ppb corresponded with an advance in the timing of maximum flowering by six days. A significant reduction in flower numbers with increasing ozone was found for Campanula rotundifolia and Scabiosa columbaria and the relationship with ozone was stronger for those that were well-watered than for those with reduced watering. These changes in flowering timing and numbers could have large ecological impacts, affecting plant pollination and the food supply of nectar feeding insects. - Highlights: ► An increase in ozone accelerated timing of maximum flowering in Lotus corniculatus. ► Ozone reduced flower numbers in Campanula rotundifolia and Scabiosa columbaria. ► Reduced water availability did not protect most species from the effects of ozone. - Increased tropospheric ozone affected timing of flowering and maximum flower numbers in calcareous grassland mesocosms.

  8. Community attitudes toward nuclear plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peelle, E.

    1982-01-01

    Among the many effects of the accident at Three Mile Island are impacts upon other communities that currently host nuclear-power reactors. Because studies on communities' reactions not immediately available, this chapter reviews existing studies and speculates about possible effects. The patterns and variations in impacts on and responses of nuclear host communities have been the subject of studies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) since 1972. This essay presents results from four post-licensing studies of host communities - Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Waterford, Connecticut (PL-1), and Brunswick, North Carolina, and Appling-Toombs counties, Georgia (PL-2) - along with case study and attitude survey information from two additional communities in which reactors are under construction: Hartsville, Tennessee, and Cherokee County, South Carolina. Differences and similarities between the sites have been assessed in terms of differences in input and social structure; factors affecting the generally favorable attitudes toward local nuclear plants are discussed

  9. Interspecific nutrient transfer in a tallgrass prairie plant community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walter, L.E.F.; Hartnett, D.C.; Hetrick, B.A.D.; Schwab, A.P.

    1996-01-01

    Interplant nutrient transfer may be an important ecological process in grasslands, and may significantly influence plant neighborhood interactions. We investigated the potential for phosphorus transfer between the dominant grass Andropogon gerardii and several neighboring plant species in tallgrass prairie via a field 32PO4 labelling experiment. The mean amount of 32P received from donor shoots differed significantly among neighboring species and decreased with increasing distance from the donor. In general, forbs and cool-season C3 grasses received more labelled 32P than warm-season C4 grasses. Phosphorus transfer occurred over distances up to 0.5 m. The effects of species and distance on movement of phosphorus changed with increasing time after labelling. The relative mass of receiver and donor shoots did not affect amounts of 32P transfer. A benomyl fungicide treatment, applied to suppress mycorrhizal activity, likely did not affect existing vegetative hyphae and did not affect the amount of 32P transferred. These studies demonstrate that: (1) phosphorus is transferred among neighboring species in tallgrass prairie plant communities, (2) phosphorus may be transferred over significantly greater distances than reported in other grasslands, and (3) there is differential transfer among co-occurring species. Hypothesized mechanisms accounting for these patterns in tallgrass prairie include mycorrhizal hyphal interconnections and/or extensive and differential root and rhizosphere overlap among neighboring species

  10. Does the stress tolerance of mixed grassland communities change in a future climate? A test with heavy metal stress (zinc pollution)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van den Berge, Joke; Naudts, Kim; Janssens, Ivan A.; Ceulemans, Reinhart; Nijs, Ivan

    2011-01-01

    Will species that are sensitive/tolerant to Zn pollution still have the same sensitivity/tolerance in a future climate? To answer this question we analysed the response of constructed grassland communities to five levels of zinc (Zn) supply, ranging from 0 to 354 mg Zn kg -1 dry soil, under a current climate and a future climate (elevated CO 2 and warming). Zn concentrations increased in roots and shoots with Zn addition but this increase did not differ between climates. Light-saturated net CO 2 assimilation rate (A sat ) of the species, on the other hand, responded differently to Zn addition depending on climate. Still, current and future climate communities have comparable biomass responses to Zn, i.e., no change in root biomass and a 13% decrease of above-ground biomass. Provided that the different response of A sat in a future climate will not compromise productivity and survival on the long term, sensitivity is not altered by climate change. - Highlights: → We exposed constructed grassland communities to Zn addition in a current and a future climate. → Zn uptake did not differ between the climates. → Although A sat was more responsive to Zn in future climate, climate did not alter biomass responses. → If this response remains on the long term, climate change will not alter sensitivity. - This study is the first to examine plant responses to a heavy metal (Zn) in a changing climate, and shows that the tolerance of plants to Zn stress will not be altered in a future climate.

  11. Local variation in conspecific plant density influences plant-soil feedback in a natural grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kos, M.; Veendrick, Johan; Bezemer, T.M.

    2013-01-01

    Several studies have argued that under field conditions plant–soil feedback may be related to the local density of a plant species, but plant–soil feedback is often studied by comparing conspecific and heterospecific soils or by using mixed soil samples collected from different locations and plant

  12. Using plant functional traits to guide restoration: A case study in California coastal grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sandel, Brody Steven; Corbin, Jeffrey; Krupa, Monica

    2011-01-01

    Restoration ecology can benefit greatly from developments in trait-based ecology that enable improved predictions of how the composition of plant communities will respond to changes in environmental conditions. Plant functional traits can be used to guide the restoration of degraded habitats...... generally from the treatments. Carbon addition led to large intraspecific trait shifts, with individuals in C addition plots having smaller, denser leaves and shorter stature. Species' trait plasticity, however, was not related to the community composition response to C addition.   Our study indicates...

  13. Grassland biodiversity can pay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binder, Seth; Isbell, Forest; Polasky, Stephen; Catford, Jane A; Tilman, David

    2018-04-10

    The biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) literature provides strong evidence of the biophysical basis for the potential profitability of greater diversity but does not address questions of optimal management. BEF studies typically focus on the ecosystem outputs produced by randomly assembled communities that only differ in their biodiversity levels, measured by indices such as species richness. Landholders, however, do not randomly select species to plant; they choose particular species that collectively maximize profits. As such, their interest is not in comparing the average performance of randomly assembled communities at each level of biodiversity but rather comparing the best-performing communities at each diversity level. Assessing the best-performing mixture requires detailed accounting of species' identities and relative abundances. It also requires accounting for the financial cost of individual species' seeds, and the economic value of changes in the quality, quantity, and variability of the species' collective output-something that existing multifunctionality indices fail to do. This study presents an assessment approach that integrates the relevant factors into a single, coherent framework. It uses ecological production functions to inform an economic model consistent with the utility-maximizing decisions of a potentially risk-averse private landowner. We demonstrate the salience and applicability of the framework using data from an experimental grassland to estimate production relationships for hay and carbon storage. For that case, our results suggest that even a risk-neutral, profit-maximizing landowner would favor a highly diverse mix of species, with optimal species richness falling between the low levels currently found in commercial grasslands and the high levels found in natural grasslands.

  14. The effects of forest-savanna-grassland gradients on bird communities of Chiquitano Dry Forests domain, in western Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godoi, Mauricio N; Souza, Edivaldo O DE

    2016-01-01

    Different vegetation types are distributed in mountains according to altitude, topography and soil. The composition and structure of bird communities in these areas can change in relation to the vegetation gradient, with particular communities occupying each habitat type. In this study we present the changes in composition, species richness and bird abundance over the gradient of forests, savannas and altitudinal grasslands of Maciço do Urucum, a mountainous region located in the Chiquitano Dry Forests domain in western Brazil. We recorded 165 bird species through qualitative and quantitative methods. Forested savannas, riparian forests and submontane forests presented the highest richness and abundance of birds, while arboreal savannas and altitudinal grasslands had intermediate and low values, respectively. The bird composition was similar between riparian and submontane forests, while other vegetation types present more dissimilar bird communities. Our results show differences in composition, richness and bird abundance among the vegetation types present at Maciço do Urucum, and highlight an important function of vegetation gradients for the conservation of bird communities in mountains. Additionally, this is the first study of the bird communities in the Brazilian Chiquitano Dry Forests, an important domain in the west of Brazil which has been poorly studied.

  15. A comunidade de abelhas (Hymenoptera, Apidae s. l. em uma área restrita de campo natural no Parque Estadual de Vila Velha, Paraná: diversidade, fenologia e fontes florais de alimento The bee community (Hymenoptera, Apidae s. l. in a restricted area of native grassland in the Vila Velha State Park, Paraná: diversity, phenology and food plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo B. Gonçalves

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available Coletas sistemáticas de abelhas em uma área restrita no Parque Estadual de Vila Velha, Paraná, no período de outubro de 2002 a outubro de 2003, resultaram em 1552 espécimes pertencentes a 181 espécies. Estas espécies estão distribuídas em 58 gêneros, 24 tribos e 5 subfamílias. As plantas visitadas correspondem a 113 espécies, em 72 gêneros e 38 famílias. Megachile com 20 espécies foi o gênero mais rico e Ceratina o gênero mais abundante dentre os gêneros nativos. Apis mellifera foi a espécie mais coletada, correspondendo a 28% do total de indivíduos, e Bombus atratus foi a espécie mais abundante dentre as abelhas nativas. A riqueza e a equitabilidade nos meses foram variáveis, sendo março o mais rico e novembro o de maior equitabilidade. Apesar de tradicionalmente considerados parte das estepes sulinas, os campos de Vila Velha apresentam uma fauna de abelhas contendo várias espécies típicas de cerrado. O igual número de espécies entre as subfamílias Apinae e Halictinae também apontam para uma peculiaridade de sua fauna. Listas de abelhas e plantas coletadas são apresentadas em anexo.A standardized survey of bees visiting blooming plants in an area covered by natural grasslands in the Vila Velha State Park was conducted from October, 2002, to October, 2003. A total of 1552 specimens belonging to 181 species were collected. These species are distributed in 58 genera, 24 tribes and 5 subfamilies. The visited plants belong to 113 species, in 72 genera and 38 families. Megachile, with 20 species, was the richest genus, while Ceratina was the most abundant native genus. Apis mellifera was the most abundant species, with 28% of all bees collected. Among the native species, Bombus atratus was the most abundant. Monthly richness and equitability varied along the year, March being the richest, and November, the most equitable. Despite being traditionally placed within the southern steppes, the open grasslands of Vila Velha

  16. Ecological analysis of plant cover of the permanent grassland ecosystem located in the vicinity of Novi Kneževac, Serbia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Knežević Aleksa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available A total of 205 taxa and stands of 12 plant communities were found to comprise the plant cover of the permanent grassland on the solonetz and solonchakic solonetz soils located in the vicinity of the town of Novi Kneževac (Vojvodina Province, Serbia. The registered taxa included 177 plant species, six subspecies, eight varieties, 13 forms and one lusus. The ecological analysis of the flora involved 191 taxa. That group consisted of 177 species, six subspecies, three varieties and five forms. The three varieties, Aster tripolium L. var. pannonicus ( Jacq. Beck, Chenopodium rubrum L. subsp. botryoides Sm. var. crassifolium (Hornem Kov. and Sonchus arvensis L. var. uliginosus (M.B. Grec. were used for analysis because their higher taxonomic categories were not recorded in the studied flora. The five forms, Aster sedifolius L. f. subsquamosus Soy, Bromus commutatus Schrad. f. violaceus Podp., Mentha aquatica L. f. erromera Top., Poa bulbosa L. f. vivipara Koel. and Scleranthus annus L. f. minimus Schur., were used for the same reason. The ecological analysis encompassed stands of all 12 recorded communities, i.e. ass. Scirpo-Phragmitetum W. Koch 1926, ass. Bolboschoenetum maritimi continentale Soy (1927 1957, ass. Acorelletum pannonici Soy (1939 1947, ass. Puccinelletum limosae (Rapcs. 1927 Soy 1930, ass. Pholiuro-Plantaginetum tenuiflorae (Rapcs. 1927 Wendel. 1943, ass. Hordeetum histricis (Soy 1933 Wendel. 1943, ass. Camphorosmetum annuae (Rapcs. 1916 Soy 1933 corr. Soy 1938, ass. Agrostio-Alopecuretum pratensis Soy (1933 1947, ass. Agrostio-Eleochariti-Alopecuretu geniculati (Magyar1928 Soy (1939 1947, ass. Artemisio-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945, ass. Achilleo-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945 and ass. Festuco-Andropogonetum ischaemi Vučk. 1985. The ecological analysis of the plant cover indicated that halophytes made 30.37% of the flora of the permanent grassland near the town of Novi Kneževac, and that the stands of

  17. Antibiotics and Manure Effects on Microbial Communities Responsible for Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semedo, M.; Song, B.; Sparrer, T.; Crozier, C.; Tobias, C. R.; Phillips, R. L.

    2015-12-01

    Agroecosystems are major contributors of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Denitrification and nitrification are the primary pathways of N2O emission in soils. However, there is uncertainty regarding the organisms responsible for N2O production. Bacteria were previously considered the only microbial N2O source, however, current studies indicate that fungi also produce N2O by denitrification. Denitrifying bacteria can be a source or sink of N2O depending on the presence and expression of nitrous oxide reductase genes (nosZ), encoding for the enzyme converting N2O to N2. Fungal denitrification may produce only N2O as an end product due to missing the nosZ gene. Animal manures applied to agricultural fields can transfer antibiotics to soils as a result of antibiotic use in the livestock industry. These antibiotics target mostly bacteria and may promote fungal growth. The growth inhibition of denitrifying bacteria may favor fungal denitrifiers potentially enhancing N2O emissions. Our objective is to examine the effects of antibiotic exposure and manure fertilization on the microbial communities responsible for N2 and N2O production in grasslands. Soil slurry incubations were conducted with tetracycline at different concentrations. A mesocosm experiment was also performed with soil cores exposed to tetracycline and cow manure. Production of N2O and N2 was measured using gas chromatography with electron capture detector (GC-ECD) and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), respectively. Antibiotic inhibition of soil N2 production was found to be dose dependent, reaching up to 80% inhibition with 1g Kg-1 of tetracycline treatment, while N2O production was enhanced up to 8 times. These results suggest higher fungal denitrification with a concomitant decrease in bacterial denitrification after antibiotic exposure. We also found higher N2O fluxes in the soil mesocosms treated with manure plus tetracycline. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) will be conducted to examine the changes in

  18. Herbivory of an invasive slug is affected by earthworms and the composition of plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaller, Johann G; Parth, Myriam; Szunyogh, Ilona; Semmelrock, Ines; Sochurek, Susanne; Pinheiro, Marcia; Frank, Thomas; Drapela, Thomas

    2013-05-13

    Biodiversity loss and species invasions are among the most important human-induced global changes. Moreover, these two processes are interlinked as ecosystem invasibility is considered to increase with decreasing biodiversity. In temperate grasslands, earthworms serve as important ecosystem engineers making up the majority of soil faunal biomass. Herbivore behaviour has been shown to be affected by earthworms, however it is unclear whether these effects differ with the composition of plant communities. To test this we conducted a mesocosm experiment where we added earthworms (Annelida: Lumbricidae) to planted grassland communities with different plant species composition (3 vs. 12 plant spp.). Plant communities had equal plant densities and ratios of the functional groups grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Later, Arion vulgaris slugs (formerly known as A. lusitanicus; Gastropoda: Arionidae) were added and allowed to freely choose among the available plant species. This slug species is listed among the 100 worst alien species in Europe. We hypothesized that (i) the food choice of slugs would be altered by earthworms' specific effects on the growth and nutrient content of plant species, (ii) slug herbivory will be less affected by earthworms in plant communities containing more plant species than in those with fewer plant species because of a more readily utilization of plant resources making the impacts of earthworms less pronounced. Slug herbivory was significantly affected by both earthworms and plant species composition. Slugs damaged 60% less leaves when earthworms were present, regardless of the species composition of the plant communities. Percent leaf area consumed by slugs was 40% lower in communities containing 12 plant species; in communities containing only three species earthworms increased slug leaf area consumption. Grasses were generally avoided by slugs. Leaf length and number of tillers was increased in mesocosms containing more plant

  19. Disturbance and climate change in United States/Mexico borderland plant communities: a state-of-the-knowledge review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guy R. McPherson; Jake F. Weltzin

    2000-01-01

    This review evaluates the effects and importance of disturbance and climate change on plant community dynamics in the United States/Mexico borderlands region. Our primary focus is on knowledge of physiognomic-level change in grasslands and woodlands of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Changes in vegetation physiognomy have broad implications for...

  20. Interactive effects of soil-dwelling ants, ant mounds and simulated grazing on local plant community composition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, G.F.; Olff, H.

    2011-01-01

    Interactions between aboveground vertebrate herbivores and subterranean yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus) can drive plant community patterns in grassland ecosystems. Here, we study the relative importance of the presence of ants (L. flavus) and ant mounds under different simulated grazing regimes

  1. The California Valley grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keeley, J.E.; Schoenherr, Allan A.

    1990-01-01

    Grasslands are distributed throughout California from Oregon to Baja California Norte and from the coast to the desert (Brown 1982) (Figure 1). This review will focus on the dominant formation in cismontane California, a community referred to as Valley Grassland (Munz 1959). Today, Valley Grassland is dominated by non-native annual grasses in genera such as Avena (wild oat), Bromus (brome grass), and Hordeum (barley), and is often referred to as the California annual grassland. On localized sites, native perennial bunchgrasses such as Stipa pultra (purple needle grass) may dominate and such sites are interpreted to be remnants of the pristine valley grassland. In northwestern California a floristically distinct formation of the Valley Grassland, known as Coast Prairie (Munz 1959) or Northern Coastal Grassland (Holland and Keil 1989) is recognized. The dominant grasses include many native perennial bunchgrasses in genera such as Agrostis, Calamagrostis, Danthonia, Deschampsia, Festuca, Koeleria and Poa (Heady et al. 1977). Non-native annuals do not dominate, but on some sites non-native perennials like Anthoxanthum odoratum may colonize the native grassland (Foin and Hektner 1986). Elevationally, California's grasslands extend from sea level to at leas 1500 m. The upper boundary is vague because montane grassland formations are commonly referred to as meadows; a community which Munz (1959) does not recognize. Holland and Keil (1989) describe the montane meadow as an azonal community; that is, a community restricted not so much to a particular climatic zone but rather controlled by substrate characteristics. They consider poor soil-drainage an over-riding factor in the development of montane meadows and, in contrast to grasslands, meadows often remain green through the summer drought. Floristically, meadows are composed of graminoids; Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, and rhizomatous grasses such as Agropyron (wheat grass). Some bunchgrasses, such as Muhlenbergia rigens, are

  2. Assessing the Roles of Fire Frequency and Precipitation in Determining Woody Plant Expansion in Central U.S. Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brunsell, N. A.; Van Vleck, E. S.; Nosshi, M.; Ratajczak, Z.; Nippert, J. B.

    2017-10-01

    Woody plant expansion into grasslands and savannas is occurring and accelerating worldwide and often impacts ecosystem processes. Understanding and predicting the environmental and ecological impacts of encroachment has led to a variety of methodologies for assessing its onset, transition, and stability, generally relying on dynamical systems approaches. Here we continue this general line of investigation to facilitate the understanding of the roles of precipitation frequency and intensity and fire frequency on the conversion of grasslands to woody-dominated systems focusing on the central United States. A low-dimensional model with stochastic precipitation and fire disturbance is introduced to examine the complex interactions between precipitation and fire as mechanisms that may suppress or facilitate increases in woody cover. By using Lyapunov exponents, we are able to ascertain the relative control exerted on woody encroachment through these mechanisms. Our results indicate that precipitation frequency is a more important control on woody encroachment than the intensity of individual precipitation events. Fire, however, exerts a much more dominant impact on the limitation of encroachment over the range of precipitation variability considered here. These results indicate that fire management may be an effective strategy to slow the onset of woody species into grasslands. While climate change might predict a reduced potential for woody encroachment in the near future, these results indicate a reduction in woody fraction may be unlikely when considering anthropogenic fire suppression.

  3. Soil environmental conditions and microbial build-up mediate the effect of plant diversity on soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities in temperate grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xavier Le Roux

    Full Text Available Random reductions in plant diversity can affect ecosystem functioning, but it is still unclear which components of plant diversity (species number - namely richness, presence of particular plant functional groups, or particular combinations of these and associated biotic and abiotic drivers explain the observed relationships, particularly for soil processes. We assembled grassland communities including 1 to 16 plant species with a factorial separation of the effects of richness and functional group composition to analyze how plant diversity components influence soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities (NEA and DEA, respectively, the abundance of nitrifiers (bacterial and archaeal amoA gene number and denitrifiers (nirK, nirS and nosZ gene number, and key soil environmental conditions. Plant diversity effects were largely due to differences in functional group composition between communities of identical richness (number of sown species, though richness also had an effect per se. NEA was positively related to the percentage of legumes in terms of sown species number, the additional effect of richness at any given legume percentage being negative. DEA was higher in plots with legumes, decreased with increasing percentage of grasses, and increased with richness. No correlation was observed between DEA and denitrifier abundance. NEA increased with the abundance of ammonia oxidizing bacteria. The effect of richness on NEA was entirely due to the build-up of nitrifying organisms, while legume effect was partly linked to modified ammonium availability and nitrifier abundance. Richness effect on DEA was entirely due to changes in soil moisture, while the effects of legumes and grasses were partly due to modified nitrate availability, which influenced the specific activity of denitrifiers. These results suggest that plant diversity-induced changes in microbial specific activity are important for facultative activities such as denitrification

  4. Lizard community structure across a grassland - creosote bush ecotone in the Chihuahuan Desert

    OpenAIRE

    Menke, Sean B

    2003-01-01

    I investigated the distribution and abundance of lizard species (Aspidoscelis inornatus, Aspidoscelis tesselatus, Aspidoscelis tigris, Aspidoscelis uniparens, Cophosaurus texanus, Crotaphytus collaris, Eumeces obsoletus, Gambelia wislizenii, Holbrookia maculata, Phrynosoma cornutum, Sceloporus magister, and Uta stansburiana) across a desert grassland - creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) ecotone in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The ecotonal area in the Jomada del Muerto basin has increased drama...

  5. Mountain pastures of Qilian Shan: plant communities, grazing impact and degradation status (Gansu province, NW China)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baranova, Alina; Schickhoff, Udo; Shunli, Wang; Ming, Jin

    2015-04-01

    Qilian Mountains are the water source region for the low arid reaches of HeiHe river basin (Gansu province, NW China). Due to overstocking and overgrazing during the last decades adverse ecological ef¬fects, in particular on soil properties and hydrological cycle, are to be expected in growing land areas. Vegetation cover is very important to prevent erosion process and to sustain stable subsurface runoff and ground water flow. The aim of this research is to identify plant communities, detecting grazing-induced and spatially differentiated changes in vegetation patterns, and to evaluate status of pasture land degradation.The study area is located in the spring/autumn pasture area of South Qilian Mountains between 2600-3600 m a.s.l., covering five main vegetation types: spruce forest, alpine shrubland, shrubby grassland, mountain grassland, degraded mountain grassland. In order to analyze gradual changes in vegetation patterns along altitudinal and grazing gradients and to classify related plant communities, quantitative and qualitative relevé data were collected (coverage, species composition, abundance of unpalatable plants, plant functional types, etc.). Vegetation was classified using hierarchical cluster analyses. Indirect Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) was used to analyze variation in relationships between vegetation, environmental factors, and grazing impact. According to DCA results, distribution of the plant communities was strongly affected by altitude and exposition. Grassland floristic gradients showed greater dependence on grazing impact, which correlated contrarily with soil organic content, soil moisture and pH. Highest numbers of species richness and alpha diversity were detected in alpine shrubland vegetation type. Comparing the monitoring data for the recent nine years, a trend of deterioration, species successions and shift in dominant species becomes obvious. Species indicating degrading site environmental conditions were identified

  6. Positive interactions between large herbivores and grasshoppers, and their consequences for grassland plant diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, Zhiwei; Wang, Deli; Zhu, Hui; Wang, Ling; Feng, Chao; Wang, Zhongnan

    2014-04-01

    Although the influence of positive interactions on plant and sessile communities has been well documented, surprisingly little is known about their role in structuring terrestrial animal communities. We evaluated beneficial interactions between two distantly related herbivore taxa, large vertebrate grazers (sheep) and smaller insect grazers (grasshoppers), using a set of field experiments in eastern Eurasian steppe of China. Grazing by large herbivores caused significantly higher grasshopper density, and this pattern persisted until the end of the experiment. Grasshoppers, in turn, increased the foraging time of larger herbivores, but such response occurred only during the peak of growing season (August). These reciprocal interactions were driven by differential herbivore foraging preferences for plant resources; namely, large herbivores preferred Artemisia forbs, whereas grasshoppers preferred Leymus grass. The enhancement of grasshopper density in areas grazed by large herbivores likely resulted from the selective consumption of Artemisia forbs by vertebrate grazers, which may potentially improve the host finding of grasshoppers. Likewise, grasshoppers appeared to benefit large herbivores by decreasing the cover and density of the dominant grass Leymus chinensis, which hampers large herbivores' access to palatable forbs. Moreover, we found that large herbivores grazing alone may significantly decrease plant diversity, yet grasshoppers appeared to mediate such negative effects when they grazed with large herbivores. Our results suggest that the positive, reciprocal interactions in terrestrial herbivore communities may be more prevalent and complex than previously thought.

  7. Comparison of remote sensing and plant trait-based modelling to predict ecosystem services in subalpine grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Homolová, Lucie; Schaepman, M. E.; Lamarque, L.; Clevers, J.G.P.W.; de Bello, Francesco; Thuiller, W.; Lavorel, S.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 5, č. 8 (2014), č. článku 100. ISSN 2150-8925 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 ; RVO:67985939 Keywords : land-use change * leaf chlorophyll content * imaging spectroscopy * water-content * aviris data * spectral reflectance * hyperspectral data * species richness * area index * vegetation * aisa * biomass * ecosystem properties * ecosystem services * linear regression * remote sensing * spatial heterogeneity * subalpine grasslands Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EF - Botanics (BU-J) OBOR OECD: Remote sensing; Plant sciences, botany (BU-J) Impact factor: 2.255, year: 2014

  8. Diversity reduces invasibility in experimental plant communities: the role of plant species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ruijven, J.; De Deyn, G.B.; Berendse, F.

    2003-01-01

    Several studies have presented experimental evidence that diversity reduces invasibility in grassland communities. The interpretation of these results has been disputed recently and it was proposed that sampling effects were responsible for the observed decrease of invasibility with diversity. The

  9. Disturbance is required for CO2-dependent promotion of woody plant growth in grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Loveys, Beth R.; Egerton, John J. G.; Bruhn, Dan

    2010-01-01

    The relative effects of disturbance (here defined as bare soil), competition for edaphic resources, thermal interference and elevated [CO2] on growth of tree seedlings in grasslands were studied under field conditions. Snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora Sieb. ex Spreng.) seedlings were grown in open...

  10. Soil fertilization leads to a decline in between-samples variability of microbial community δ13C profiles in a grassland fertilization experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stavros D Veresoglou

    Full Text Available Gas chromatography combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS was used to measure the (13C/(12C ratios of PLFAs at natural abundance levels from a temperate grassland nitrogen (N and phosphorus (P factorial fertilization experiment in northern Greece. In each plot two rhizosphere samples were derived centred around individual Agrostis capillaris and Prunella vulgaris plants. It was hypothesized that the isotopic signal of microbes that preferentially feed on recalcitrant litter such as fungi would be modified by fertilization more strongly than that of opportunistic microbes using labile C. Microbial community δ(13C was affected by both P and N fertilization regime and plant species identity. However, we have been unable to detect significant nutrient effects on individual groups of microbes when analyzed separately in contrast to our original hypothesis. Intra-treatment variability, as evaluated from Hartley's F(max tests in the five first PCA components axes as well as the size of the convex hulls in PCA scoreplots and Mahalanobis distances, was considerably higher in the non-fertilized controls. Moreover, a significant relationship was established between the change in PLFA abundances and their respective changes in δ(13C for the aggregate of samples and those simultaneously fertilized with N and P. We conclude that use of compound specific isotope analysis in the absence of labelling represents a valuable and overlooked tool in obtaining an insight of microbial community functioning.

  11. Plant diversity and plant identity influence Fusarium communities in soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeBlanc, Nicholas; Kinkel, Linda; Kistler, H Corby

    2017-01-01

    Fusarium communities play important functional roles in soil and in plants as pathogens, endophytes, and saprotrophs. This study tests how rhizosphere Fusarium communities may vary with plant species, changes in the diversity of the surrounding plant community, and soil physiochemical characteristics. Fusarium communities in soil associated with the roots of two perennial prairie plant species maintained as monocultures or growing within polyculture plant communities were characterized using targeted metagenomics. Amplicon libraries targeting the RPB2 locus were generated from rhizosphere soil DNAs and sequenced using pyrosequencing. Sequences were clustered into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and assigned a taxonomy using the Evolutionary Placement Algorithm. Fusarium community composition was differentiated between monoculture and polyculture plant communities, and by plant species in monoculture, but not in polyculture. Taxonomic classification of the Fusarium OTUs showed a predominance of F. tricinctum and F. oxysporum as well of the presence of a clade previously only found in the Southern Hemisphere. Total Fusarium richness was not affected by changes in plant community richness or correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics. However, OTU richness within two predominant phylogenetic lineages within the genus was positively or negatively correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics among samples within each lineage. This work shows that plant species, plant community richness, and soil physiochemical characteristics may all influence the composition and richness of Fusarium communities in soil.

  12. Grassland Sustainability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah U. Potter; Paulette L. Ford

    2004-01-01

    In this chapter we discuss grassland sustainability in the Southwest, grassland management for sustainability, national and local criteria and indicators of sustainable grassland ecosystems, and monitoring for sustainability at various scales. Ecological sustainability is defined as: [T]he maintenance or restoration of the composition, structure, and processes of...

  13. New Pesticidal Diterpenoids from Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae, an Endemic Neotropical Plant Living in the Endangered Brazilian Biome Rupestrian Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana C. Ferreira

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Vellozia gigantea is a rare, ancient, and endemic neotropical plant present in the Brazilian Rupestrian grasslands. The dichloromethane extract of V. gigantea adventitious roots was phytotoxic against Lactuca sativa, Agrostis stolonifera, and Lemna paucicostata, and showed larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti. Phytotoxicity bioassay-directed fractionation of the extract revealed one new isopimaradiene, 8(9,15-isopimaradien-1,3,7,11-tetraone, and three new cleistanthane diterpenoids, 7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol, 3,20-epoxy-7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol, and 20-nor-3,7-dioxo-1,8,11,13-cleistanthatetraen-10-ol. These new structures are proposed based on interpretation of 1H, 13C, COSY, NOESY, HSQC, and HMBC NMR data. 8(9,15-isopimaradien-1,3,7,11-tetraone was especially phytotoxic with an IC50 value (30 μM comparable to those of commercial herbicides clomazone, EPTC, and naptalam. In addition, 7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol provided 100% mortality at a concentration of 125 ppm against one-day-old Ae. aegypti larvae. Our results show that ancient and unique plants, like the endangered narrowly endemic neotropical species V. gigantea present in the Rupestrian grasslands, should also be protected because they can be sources of new bioactive compounds.

  14. Effects of plant diversity, N fertilization, and elevated carbon dioxide on grassland soil N cycling in a long-term experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Kevin E; Hobbie, Sarah E; Tilman, David; Reich, Peter B

    2013-04-01

    The effects of global environmental changes on soil nitrogen (N) pools and fluxes have consequences for ecosystem functions such as plant productivity and N retention. In a 13-year grassland experiment, we evaluated how elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ), N fertilization, and plant species richness alter soil N cycling. We focused on soil inorganic N pools, including ammonium and nitrate, and two N fluxes, net N mineralization and net nitrification. In contrast with existing hypotheses, such as progressive N limitation, and with observations from other, often shorter, studies, elevated CO2 had relatively static and small, or insignificant, effects on soil inorganic N pools and fluxes. Nitrogen fertilization had inconsistent effects on soil N transformations, but increased soil nitrate and ammonium concentrations. Plant species richness had increasingly positive effects on soil N transformations over time, likely because in diverse subplots the concentrations of N in roots increased over time. Species richness also had increasingly positive effects on concentrations of ammonium in soil, perhaps because more carbon accumulated in soils of diverse subplots, providing exchange sites for ammonium. By contrast, subplots planted with 16 species had lower soil nitrate concentrations than less diverse subplots, especially when fertilized, probably due to greater N uptake capacity of subplots with 16 species. Monocultures of different plant functional types had distinct effects on N transformations and nitrate concentrations, such that not all monocultures differed from diverse subplots in the same manner. The first few years of data would not have adequately forecast the effects of N fertilization and diversity on soil N cycling in later years; therefore, the dearth of long-term manipulations of plant species richness and N inputs is a hindrance to forecasting the state of the soil N cycle and ecosystem functions in extant plant communities. © 2012 Blackwell

  15. Seed-bank structure and plant-recruitment conditions regulate the dynamics of a grassland-shrubland Chihuahuan ecotone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno-de Las Heras, Mariano; Turnbull, Laura; Wainwright, John

    2016-09-01

    Large areas of desert grasslands in the southwestern United States have shifted to sparse shrublands dominated by drought-tolerant woody species over the last 150 yr, accompanied by accelerated soil erosion. An important step toward the understanding of patterns in species dominance and vegetation change at desert grassland-shrubland transitions is the study of environmental limitations imposed by the shrub-encroachment phenomenon on plant establishment. Here, we analyze the structure of soil seed banks, environmental limitations for seed germination (i.e., soil-water availability and temperature), and simulated seedling emergence and early establishment of dominant species (black grama, Bouteloua eriopoda, and creosotebush, Larrea tridentata) across a Chihuahuan grassland-shrubland ecotone (Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA). Average viable seed density in soils across the ecotone is generally low (200-400 seeds/m 2 ), although is largely concentrated in densely vegetated areas (with peaks up to 800-1,200 seeds/m 2 in vegetated patches). Species composition in the seed bank is strongly affected by shrub encroachment, with seed densities of grass species sharply decreasing in shrub-dominated sites. Environmental conditions for seed germination and seedling emergence are synchronized with the summer monsoon. Soil-moisture conditions for seedling establishment of B. eriopoda take place with a recurrence interval ranging between 5 and 8 yr for grassland and shrubland sites, respectively, and are favored by strong monsoonal precipitation. Limited L. tridentata seed dispersal and a narrow range of rainfall conditions for early seedling establishment (50-100 mm for five to six consecutive weeks) constrain shrub-recruitment pulses to localized and episodic decadal events (9-25 yr recurrence intervals) generally associated with late-summer rainfall. Re-establishment of B. eriopoda in areas now dominated by L. tridentata is strongly limited by the

  16. Influence of weather variables and plant communities on grasshopper density in the Southern Pampas, Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Wysiecki, María Laura; Arturi, Marcelo; Torrusio, Sandra; Cigliano, María Marta

    2011-01-01

    A study was conducted to evaluate the influence of weather (precipitation and temperature) and plant communities on grasshopper density over a 14-year period (1996-2009) in Benito Juárez County, Southern Pampas, Argentina. Total density strongly varied among plant communities. Highest values were registered in 2001 and 2003 in highly disturbed pastures and in 2002 and 2009 in halophilous grasslands. Native grasslands had the lowest density values. Seasonal precipitation and temperature had no significant effect on total grasshopper density. Dichroplus elongatus (Giglio-Tos) (Orthoptera: Acridoidea), Covasacris pallidinota (Bruner), Dichroplus pratensis Bruner, Scotussa lemniscata Stål, Borellia bruneri (Rehn) and Dichroplus maculipennis (Blanchard) comprised, on average, 64% of the grasshopper assemblages during low density years and 79% during high density years. Dichroplus elongatus, S. lemniscata and C. pallidinota were the most abundant species in 2001, 2002 and 2003, while D. elongatus, B. brunneri and C. pallidinota in 2009. Dichroplus elongatus and D. pratensis, mixed feeders species, were positively affected by summer rainfall. This suggests that the increase in summer precipitation had a positive effect on the quantity and quality forage production, affecting these grasshopper populations. Scotussa lemniscata and C. pallidinota were negatively affected by winter and fall temperature, possibly affecting the embryonic development before diapause and hatching. Dichroplus elongatus and D. pratensis were associated with highly disturbed pastures, S. lemniscata with pastures and B. bruneri and D. maculipennis with halophilous grasslands. Covasacris pallidinota was closely associated with halophilous grasslands and moderately disturbed pastures. Weather conditions changed over the years, with 2001, 2002 and 2003 having excessive rainfall while 2008 and 2009 were the driest years since the study started. We suggest that although seasonal precipitation and

  17. Patterns of plant diversity loss and species turnover resulting from land abandonment and intensification in semi-natural grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uchida, Kei; Koyanagi, Tomoyo F; Matsumura, Toshikazu; Koyama, Asuka

    2018-07-15

    Land-use changes cause biodiversity loss in semi-natural ecosystems worldwide. Biotic homogenization has led to biodiversity loss, mainly through declines in species composition turnover. Elucidating patterns of turnover in species composition could enhance our understanding of how anthropogenic activities affect community assembly. Here, we focused on whether the decreasing patterns in plant diversity and turnover of species composition resulting from land-use change vary in two regions. We estimated the species diversity and composition of semi-natural grasslands surrounding paddy fields in satoyama landscapes. We examined the differences in species diversity and composition across three land-use types (abandoned, traditional, and intensified) in two regions (Hyogo and Niigata Prefectures, Japan), which were characterized by different climatic conditions. We then assessed alpha-, beta-, and gamma-diversity to compare the patterns of diversity losses in the two regions as a result of land-use changes. In each region, gamma-diversity was consistently higher in the traditional sites compared to abandoned or intensified sites. The analyses revealed that most of the beta-diversity in traditional sites differed significantly from those of abandoned and intensified sites in both regions. However, the beta-diversity of total and perennial species did not differ between traditional and abandoned sites in the Hyogo region. We noted that the beta-diversity of total and perennial species in intensified sites was much lower than that in the traditional sites of the Niigata region. Overall, the patterns of alpha- and gamma-diversity loss were similar in both study regions. Although the biotic homogenization was caused by intensified land-use in the Niigata region, this hypothesis did not completely explain the loss of biodiversity in the abandoned sites in the Hyogo region. The present study contributes to the growing body of work investigating changes in biodiversity as a

  18. Impact of soil warming on the plant metabolome of Icelandic grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Gargallo-Garriga, A.; Ayala-Roque, M.; Sardans, J.; Bartrons, M.; Granda, V.; Sigurdsson, B. D.; Leblans, N. I.W.; Oravec, Michal; Urban, Otmar; Janssens, I. A.; Peñuelas, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 7, č. 3 (2017), č. článku 44. E-ISSN 2218-1989 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LM2015061; GA MŠk(CZ) LO1415 Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : Climate change * Geothermal bedrock channels * Grassland * Iceland * Metabolome * Warming Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7)

  19. Embracing community ecology in plant microbiome research

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dini-Andreote, F.; Raaijmakers, J.M.

    2018-01-01

    Community assembly is mediated by selection, dispersal, drift, and speciation. Environmental selection is mostly used to date to explain patterns in plant microbiome assembly, whereas the influence of the other processes remains largely elusive. Recent studies highlight that adopting community

  20. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, T.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris.

  1. Native-plant amendments and topsoil addition enhance soil function in post-mining arid grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kneller, Tayla; Harris, Richard J; Bateman, Amber; Muñoz-Rojas, Miriam

    2018-04-15

    One of the most critical challenges faced in restoration of disturbed arid lands is the limited availability of topsoil. In post-mining restoration, alternative soil substrates such as mine waste could be an adequate growth media to alleviate the topsoil deficit, but these materials often lack appropriate soil characteristics to support the development and survival of seedlings. Thus, addition of exogenous organic matter may be essential to enhance plant survival and soil function. Here, we present a case study in the arid Pilbara region (north-west Western Australia), a resource-rich area subject to intensive mining activities. The main objective of our study was to assess the effects of different restoration techniques such as soil reconstruction by blending available soil materials, sowing different compositions of plant species, and addition of a locally abundant native soil organic amendment (Triodia pungens biomass) on: (i) seedling recruitment and growth of Triodia wiseana, a dominant grass in Australian arid ecosystems, and (ii) soil chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of reconstructed soils, including microbial activity, total organic C, total N, and C and N mineralisation. The study was conducted in a 12-month multifactorial microcosms setting in a controlled environment. Our results showed that the amendment increased C and N contents of re-made soils, but these values were still lower than those obtained in the topsoil. High microbial activity and C mineralisation rates were found in the amended waste that contrasted the low N mineralisation but this did not translate into improved emergence or survival of T. wiseana. These results suggest a short- or medium-term soil N immobilisation caused by negative priming effect of fresh un-composted amendment on microbial communities. We found similar growth and survival rates of T. wiseana in topsoil and a blend of topsoil and waste (50:50) which highlights the importance of topsoil, even in a

  2. Plant species and functional group effects on abiotic and microbial soil properties and plant-soil feedback responses in two grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bezemer, T.M.; Lawson, C.S.; Hedlund, K.; Edwards, A.R.; Brooks, A.J.; Igual, J.M.; Mortimer, S.R.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2006-01-01

    1 Plant species differ in their capacity to influence soil organic matter, soil nutrient availability and the composition of soil microbial communities. Their influences on soil properties result in net positive or negative feedback effects, which influence plant performance and plant community

  3. Impact of Altered Precipitation Patterns on Plant Productivity and Soil Respiration in a Northern Great Plains Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haase, L.; Flanagan, L. B.

    2017-12-01

    Precipitation patterns are expected to shift towards larger but fewer rain events, with longer intermittent dry periods, associated with climate change. The larger rain events may compensate for and help to mitigate climate change effects on key ecosystem functions such as plant productivity and soil respiration in semi-arid grasslands. We experimentally manipulated the amount and frequency of simulated precipitation added to trenched, treatment plots that were covered by rain shelters, and measured the response in plant productivity and soil respiration in a native, grassland ecosystem near Lethbridge, Alberta. We compared the observed responses to the predictions of a conceptual ecosystem response model developed by Knapp et al. 2008 (BioScience 58: 811-821). Two experiments were conducted during 14 weeks of the growing season from May-August. The first experiment (normal amount) applied total growing season precipitation of 180 mm (climate normal), and the second experiment (reduced amount) applied total precipitation of 90 mm. In both experiments, precipitation was applied at two frequencies, 1 rain event every week (normal frequency) and 1 rain event every two weeks (reduced frequency). In the normal amount experiment, the average rain event was 12.8 mm for the normal frequency treatment and 25.8 mm for the reduced frequency treatment. In the reduced amount experiment, the average rain event was 6.4 mm for the normal frequency treatment and 12.8 mm for the reduced frequency treatment. We hypothesized that larger but fewer rain events would result in increased plant productivity and soil respiration for both experiments. Plant greenness values calculated from digital photographs were used as a proxy for plant productivity, and showed significantly higher values for the normal vs. reduced amount experiment. Soil respiration rate also showed significantly higher values for the normal vs. reduced amount experiment. No significant treatment effect could be detected

  4. Plant succession and approaches to community restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce A. Roundy

    2005-01-01

    The processes of vegetation change over time, or plant succession, are also the processes involved in plant community restoration. Restoration efforts attempt to use designed disturbance, seedbed preparation and sowing methods, and selection of adapted and compatible native plant materials to enhance ecological function. The large scale of wildfires and weed invasion...

  5. The effect of solar UV radiation of four plant species occurring in a coastal grassland vegetation in The Netherlands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tosserams, M.; Rozema, J. [Vrije Univ., Dept. of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, Amsterdam (Netherlands); Pais, A. de Sa [Univ. de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real (Portugal)

    1996-09-01

    During the summer of 1992, growth and some physiological parameters of four native plant species occurring in a coastal grassland in The Netherlands, were studied after reduction of solar UV irradiance using different cut-off filters. Biomass production, morphology and photosynthesis of all species tested were unaffected by the different treatments. Litter production of Plantago lanceolata was increased in the absence of the total UV waveband, indicating a possible role for this waveband in plant senescence. Depletion of the total UV waveband from sunlight resulted in alterations in biomass allocation in Calamagrostis epigeios and Urtica dioica while no changes were observed in P. lanceolatata and Verbascum thapsus. In C. epigeios and increase in the specific leaf area was observed, whereas in U. dioica root weight per total plant weight was decreased resulting in an increase in the shoot/root ratio. Both photosynthetic and UV-absorbing pigment concentrations were altered by the different filter applications. When compared to control plants receiving full sunlight, depletion of UV-B resulted in a significant increase in chlorophyll concentration in U. dioica leaves, this however did not affect photosynthetic rate. The presence of UV-B radiation enhanced the UV-absorbance of leaf extract of all species except P. lanceolata. Optical characteristics of the leaves were also changed. Both the quantity (P. lanceolata and U. dioica) and the quality (all species) of radiation transmitted by the leaves was affected by the different treatments. (au) 44 refs.

  6. Taxonomic and Functional Responses of Soil Microbial Communities to Annual Removal of Aboveground Plant Biomass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Xue; Zhou, Xishu; Hale, Lauren; Yuan, Mengting; Feng, Jiajie; Ning, Daliang; Shi, Zhou; Qin, Yujia; Liu, Feifei; Wu, Liyou; He, Zhili; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Liu, Xueduan; Luo, Yiqi; Tiedje, James M.; Zhou, Jizhong

    2018-01-01

    Clipping, removal of aboveground plant biomass, is an important issue in grassland ecology. However, few studies have focused on the effect of clipping on belowground microbial communities. Using integrated metagenomic technologies, we examined the taxonomic and functional responses of soil microbial communities to annual clipping (2010–2014) in a grassland ecosystem of the Great Plains of North America. Our results indicated that clipping significantly (P microbial respiration rates. Annual temporal variation within the microbial communities was much greater than the significant changes introduced by clipping, but cumulative effects of clipping were still observed in the long-term scale. The abundances of some bacterial and fungal lineages including Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were significantly (P microbial communities were significantly correlated with soil respiration and plant productivity. Intriguingly, clipping effects on microbial function may be highly regulated by precipitation at the interannual scale. Altogether, our results illustrated the potential of soil microbial communities for increased soil organic matter decomposition under clipping land-use practices. PMID:29904372

  7. Object-based random forest classification of Landsat ETM+ and WorldView-2 satellite imagery for mapping lowland native grassland communities in Tasmania, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melville, Bethany; Lucieer, Arko; Aryal, Jagannath

    2018-04-01

    This paper presents a random forest classification approach for identifying and mapping three types of lowland native grassland communities found in the Tasmanian Midlands region. Due to the high conservation priority assigned to these communities, there has been an increasing need to identify appropriate datasets that can be used to derive accurate and frequently updateable maps of community extent. Therefore, this paper proposes a method employing repeat classification and statistical significance testing as a means of identifying the most appropriate dataset for mapping these communities. Two datasets were acquired and analysed; a Landsat ETM+ scene, and a WorldView-2 scene, both from 2010. Training and validation data were randomly subset using a k-fold (k = 50) approach from a pre-existing field dataset. Poa labillardierei, Themeda triandra and lowland native grassland complex communities were identified in addition to dry woodland and agriculture. For each subset of randomly allocated points, a random forest model was trained based on each dataset, and then used to classify the corresponding imagery. Validation was performed using the reciprocal points from the independent subset that had not been used to train the model. Final training and classification accuracies were reported as per class means for each satellite dataset. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was undertaken to determine whether classification accuracy differed between the two datasets, as well as between classifications. Results showed mean class accuracies between 54% and 87%. Class accuracy only differed significantly between datasets for the dry woodland and Themeda grassland classes, with the WorldView-2 dataset showing higher mean classification accuracies. The results of this study indicate that remote sensing is a viable method for the identification of lowland native grassland communities in the Tasmanian Midlands, and that repeat classification and statistical significant testing can be

  8. Relationship between Remote Sensing Data, Plant Biomass and Soil Nitrogen Dynamics in Intensively Managed Grasslands under Controlled Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knoblauch, Christoph; Watson, Conor; Berendonk, Clara; Becker, Rolf; Wrage-Mönnig, Nicole; Wichern, Florian

    2017-06-23

    The sustainable use of grasslands in intensive farming systems aims to optimize nitrogen (N) inputs to increase crop yields and decrease harmful losses to the environment at the same time. To achieve this, simple optical sensors may provide a non-destructive, time- and cost-effective tool for estimating plant biomass in the field, considering spatial and temporal variability. However, the plant growth and related N uptake is affected by the available N in the soil, and therefore, N mineralization and N losses. These soil N dynamics and N losses are affected by the N input and environmental conditions, and cannot easily be determined non-destructively. Therefore, the question arises: whether a relationship can be depicted between N fertilizer levels, plant biomass and N dynamics as indicated by nitrous oxide (N₂O) losses and inorganic N levels. We conducted a standardized greenhouse experiment to explore the potential of spectral measurements for analyzing yield response, N mineralization and N₂O emissions in a permanent grassland. Ryegrass was subjected to four mineral fertilizer input levels over 100 days (four harvests) under controlled environmental conditions. The soil temperature and moisture content were automatically monitored, and the emission rates of N₂O and carbon dioxide (CO₂) were detected frequently. Spectral measurements of the swards were performed directly before harvesting. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and simple ratio (SR) were moderately correlated with an increasing biomass as affected by fertilization level. Furthermore, we found a non-linear response of increasing N₂O emissions to elevated fertilizer levels. Moreover, inorganic N and extractable organic N levels at the end of the experiment tended to increase with the increasing N fertilizer addition. However, microbial biomass C and CO₂ efflux showed no significant differences among fertilizer treatments, reflecting no substantial changes in the soil

  9. Modelling asymmetric growth in crowded plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Damgaard, Christian

    2010-01-01

    A class of models that may be used to quantify the effect of size-asymmetric competition in crowded plant communities by estimating a community specific degree of size-asymmetric growth for each species in the community is suggested. The model consists of two parts: an individual size......-asymmetric growth part, where growth is assumed to be proportional to a power function of the size of the individual, and a term that reduces the relative growth rate as a decreasing function of the individual plant size and the competitive interactions from other plants in the neighbourhood....

  10. Seasonal variation in nitrogen pools and 15N/13C natural abundances in different tissues of grassland plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. K. Schjoerring

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Seasonal changes in nitrogen (N pools, carbon (C content and natural abundance of 13C and 15N in different tissues of ryegrass plants were investigated in two intensively managed grassland fields in order to address their ammonia (NH3 exchange potential. Green leaves generally had the largest total N concentration followed by stems and inflorescences. Senescent leaves had the lowest N concentration, indicating N re-allocation. The seasonal pattern of the Γ value, i.e. the ratio between NH4+ and H+ concentrations, was similar for the various tissues of the ryegrass plants but the magnitude of Γ differed considerably among the different tissues. Green leaves and stems generally had substantially lower Γ values than senescent leaves and litter. Substantial peaks in Γ were observed during spring and summer in response to fertilization and grazing. These peaks were associated with high NH4+ rather than with low H+ concentrations. Peaks in Γ also appeared during the winter, coinciding with increasing δ15N values, indicating absorption of N derived from mineralization of soil organic matter. At the same time, δ13C values were declining, suggesting reduced photosynthesis and capacity for N assimilation. δ15N and δ13C values were more influenced by mean monthly temperature than by the accumulated monthly precipitation. In conclusion, ryegrass plants showed a clear seasonal pattern in N pools. Green leaves and stems of ryegrass plants generally seem to constitute a sink for NH3, while senescent leaves have a large potential for NH3 emission. However, management events such as fertilisation and grazing may create a high NH3 emission potential even in green plant parts. The obtained results provide input for future modelling of plant-atmosphere NH3 exchange.

  11. Investigating the Effect of Livestock Grazing and Associated Plant Community Shifts on Carbon and Nutrient Cycling in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewins, D. B.; Chuan, S.; Stolnikova, E.; Bork, E. W.; Carlyle, C. N.; Chang, S. X.

    2015-12-01

    Grassland ecosystems are ubiquitous across the globe covering an estimated 40 % of Earth's terrestrial landmass. These ecosystems are widely valued for providing forage for domestic livestock and a suite of important ecosystem goods and services including carbon (C) storage. Despite storing more than 30 % of soil C globally, the effect of both livestock grazing and the associated change in plant community structure in response to grazing on C and nutrient cycling remains uncertain. To gain a quantitative understanding of the direct and indirect effects of livestock grazing on C and nutrient cycling, we established study sites at 15 existing site localities with paired long-term grazing (ca. 30 y) and non-grazed treatments (totaling 30 unique plant communities). Our sites were distributed widely across Alberta in three distinct grassland bioclimatic zones allowing us to make comparisons across the broad range of climate variability typical of western Canadian grasslands. In each plant community we decomposed 5 common plant species that are known to increase or decrease in response to grazing pressure, a unique plant community sample, and a cellulose paper control. We measured mass loss, initial lignin, C and N concentrations at 0, 1, 3, 6 and 12 months of field incubation. In addition we assayed hydrolytic and oxidative extracellular enzymes associated with for C (n= 5 hydrolytic; phenoloxidase and peroxidase) and nutrients (i.e. N and P; n=1 ea.) cycling from each litter sample at each collection. Our results suggest that by changing the plant community structure, grazing can affect rates of decomposition and associated biogeochemical cycling by changing plant species and associated litter inputs. Moreover, measures of microbial function are controlled by site-specific conditions (e.g. temperature and precipitation), litter chemistry over the course of our incubation.

  12. Increased precipitation accelerates soil organic matter turnover associated with microbial community composition in topsoil of alpine grassland on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, Conghai; Wang, Zongli; Si, Guicai; Lei, Tianzhu; Yuan, Yanli; Zhang, Gengxin

    2017-10-01

    Large quantities of carbon are stored in alpine grassland of the Tibetan Plateau, which is extremely sensitive to climate change. However, it remains unclear whether soil organic matter (SOM) in different layers responds to climate change analogously, and whether microbial communities play vital roles in SOM turnover of topsoil. In this study we measured and collected SOM turnover by the 14 C method in alpine grassland to test climatic effects on SOM turnover in soil profiles. Edaphic properties and microbial communities in the northwestern Qinghai Lake were investigated to explore microbial influence on SOM turnover. SOM turnover in surface soil (0-10 cm) was more sensitive to precipitation than that in subsurface layers (10-40 cm). Precipitation also imposed stronger effects on the composition of microbial communities in the surface layer than that in deeper soil. At the 5-10 cm depth, the SOM turnover rate was positively associated with the bacteria/fungi biomass ratio and the relative abundance of Acidobacteria, both of which are related to precipitation. Partial correlation analysis suggested that increased precipitation could accelerate the SOM turnover rate in topsoil by structuring soil microbial communities. Conversely, carbon stored in deep soil would be barely affected by climate change. Our results provide valuable insights into the dynamics and storage of SOM in alpine grasslands under future climate scenarios.

  13. Community level offset of rain use- and transpiration efficiency for a heavily grazed ecosystem in inner Mongolia grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Ying Z; Giese, Marcus; Gao, Qiang; Brueck, Holger; Sheng, Lian X; Yang, Hai J

    2013-01-01

    Water use efficiency (WUE) is a key indicator to assess ecosystem adaptation to water stress. Rain use efficiency (RUE) is usually used as a proxy for WUE due to lack of transpiration data. Furthermore, RUE based on aboveground primary productivity (RUEANPP) is used to evaluate whole plant water use because root production data is often missing as well. However, it is controversial as to whether RUE is a reliable parameter to elucidate transpiration efficiency (TE), and whether RUEANPP is a suitable proxy for RUE of the whole plant basis. The experiment was conducted at three differently managed sites in the Inner Mongolia steppe: a site fenced since 1979 (UG79), a winter grazing site (WG) and a heavily grazed site (HG). Site HG had consistent lowest RUEANPP and RUE based on total net primary productivity (RUENPP). RUEANPP is a relatively good proxy at sites UG79 and WG, but less reliable for site HG. Similarly, RUEANPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on aboveground net primary productivity (TEANPP) at sites UG79 and WG but not for site HG. However, if total net primary productivity is considered, RUENPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on total net primary productivity (TENPP) for all sites. Although our measurements indicate decreased plant transpiration and consequentially decreasing RUE under heavy grazing, productivity was relatively compensated for with a higher TE. This offset between RUE and TE was even enhanced under water limited conditions and more evident when belowground net primary productivity (BNNP) was included. These findings suggest that BNPP should be considered when studies fucus on WUE of more intensively used grasslands. The consideration of the whole plant perspective and "real" WUE would partially revise our picture of system performance and therefore might affect the discussion on the C-sequestration and resilience potential of ecosystems.

  14. THE EUROPEAN POSITION OF DUTCH PLANT COMMUNITIES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J.A.M. JANSSEN

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available In this paper it is analyzed for which plant communities (alliances the Netherlands has an international responsibility. Data has been brought together on the range and distribution of alliances in Europe, the area of plant communities in the Netherlands and surrounding countries and the occurrence of endemic associations in the Netherlands. The analysis resulted in a list of 34 out of 93 alliances in the Netherlands which are important from an international point of view.

  15. Prescribed fire, soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, and plant responses in a semiarid grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    David J. Augustine; Paul Brewer; Dana M. Blumenthal; Justin D. Derner; Joseph C. von Fischer

    2014-01-01

    In arid and semiarid ecosystems, fire can potentially affect ecosystem dynamics through changes in soil moisture, temperature, and nitrogen cycling, as well as through direct effects on plant meristem mortality. We examined effects of annual and triennial prescribed fires conducted in early spring on soil moisture, temperature, and N, plant growth, and plant N content...

  16. Classification of Grassland Successional Stages Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Möckel

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Plant communities differ in their species composition, and, thus, also in their functional trait composition, at different stages in the succession from arable fields to grazed grassland. We examine whether aerial hyperspectral (414–2501 nm remote sensing can be used to discriminate between grazed vegetation belonging to different grassland successional stages. Vascular plant species were recorded in 104.1 m2 plots on the island of Öland (Sweden and the functional properties of the plant species recorded in the plots were characterized in terms of the ground-cover of grasses, specific leaf area and Ellenberg indicator values. Plots were assigned to three different grassland age-classes, representing 5–15, 16–50 and >50 years of grazing management. Partial least squares discriminant analysis models were used to compare classifications based on aerial hyperspectral data with the age-class classification. The remote sensing data successfully classified the plots into age-classes: the overall classification accuracy was higher for a model based on a pre-selected set of wavebands (85%, Kappa statistic value = 0.77 than one using the full set of wavebands (77%, Kappa statistic value = 0.65. Our results show that nutrient availability and grass cover differences between grassland age-classes are detectable by spectral imaging. These techniques may potentially be used for mapping the spatial distribution of grassland habitats at different successional stages.

  17. Seed bank characteristics of Dutch plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bekker, RM; Schaminee, JHJ; Bakker, JP; Thompson, K

    With the recent appearances of a new and well-documented classification of the Dutch plant communities (Schaminee et al 1995a,b; 1996) and a database on the seed longevity of plant species of North West Europe (Thompson ct al. 1997a) it was possible to investigate patterns of seed longevity in Dutch

  18. Plant species richness sustains higher trophic levels of soil nematode communities after consecutive environmental perturbations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cesarz, Simone; Ciobanu, Marcel; Wright, Alexandra J; Ebeling, Anne; Vogel, Anja; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2017-07-01

    The magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events are predicted to increase in the future due to ongoing climate change. In particular, floods and droughts resulting from climate change are thought to alter the ecosystem functions and stability. However, knowledge of the effects of these weather events on soil fauna is scarce, although they are key towards functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Plant species richness has been shown to affect the stability of ecosystem functions and food webs. Here, we used the occurrence of a natural flood in a biodiversity grassland experiment that was followed by a simulated summer drought experiment, to investigate the interactive effects of plant species richness, a natural flood, and a subsequent summer drought on nematode communities. Three and five months after the natural flooding, effects of flooding severity were still detectable in the belowground system. We found that flooding severity decreased soil nematode food-web structure (loss of K-strategists) and the abundance of plant feeding nematodes. However, high plant species richness maintained higher diversity and abundance of higher trophic levels compared to monocultures throughout the flood. The subsequent summer drought seemed to be of lower importance but reversed negative flooding effects in some cases. This probably occurred because the studied grassland system is well adapted to drought, or because drought conditions alleviated the negative impact of long-term soil waterlogging. Using soil nematodes as indicator taxa, this study suggests that high plant species richness can maintain soil food web complexity after consecutive environmental perturbations.

  19. Relationships between Plant Diversity and Grasshopper Diversity and Abundance in the Little Missouri National Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David H. Branson

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available A continuing challenge in orthopteran ecology is to understand what determines grasshopper species diversity at a given site. In this study, the objective was to determine if variation in grasshopper abundance and diversity between 23 sites in western North Dakota (USA could be explained by variation in plant species richness and diversity. In this system with relatively low plant diversity, grasshopper species richness and abundance were not significantly associated with plant species richness in either year. Although a number of significant associations between plant diversity and grasshopper diversity were found through regression analyses, results differed greatly between years indicating that plant species richness and diversity did not lead to strong effects on grasshopper diversity metrics. Plant species richness appears to be too coarse grained to lead to accurate predictions of grasshopper species richness in this system dominated by generalist grasshopper species.

  20. Small-scale barriers mitigate desertification processes and enhance plant recruitment in a degraded semiarid grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fick, Stephen E; Decker, Cheryl E.; Duniway, Michael C.; Miller, Mark E.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic desertification is a problem that plagues drylands globally; however, the factors which maintain degraded states are often unclear. In Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado Plateau of southeastern Utah, many degraded grasslands have not recovered structure and function >40 yr after release from livestock grazing pressure, necessitating active restoration. We hypothesized that multiple factors contribute to the persistent degraded state, including lack of seed availability, surficial soil-hydrological properties, and high levels of spatial connectivity (lack of perennial vegetation and other surface structure to retain water, litter, seed, and sediment). In combination with seeding and surface raking treatments, we tested the effect of small barrier structures (“ConMods”) designed to disrupt the loss of litter, seed and sediment in degraded soil patches within the park. Grass establishment was highest when all treatments (structures, seed addition, and soil disturbance) were combined, but only in the second year after installation, following favorable climatic conditions. We suggest that multiple limiting factors were ameliorated by treatments, including seed limitation and microsite availability, seed removal by harvester ants, and stressful abiotic conditions. Higher densities of grass seedlings on the north and east sides of barrier structures following the summer months suggest that structures may have functioned as artificial “nurse-plants”, sheltering seedlings from wind and radiation as well as accumulating wind-blown resources. Barrier structures increased the establishment of both native perennial grasses and exotic annuals, although there were species-specific differences in mortality related to spatial distribution of seedlings within barrier structures. The unique success of all treatments combined, and even then only under favorable climatic conditions and in certain soil patches, highlights that restoration success (and

  1. Changes in plant functional groups, litter quality, and soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization with sheep grazing in an Inner Mongolian Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barger, N.N.; Ojima, D.S.; Belnap, J.; Shiping, W.; Yanfen, W.; Chen, Z.

    2004-01-01

    This study reports on changes in plant functional group composition, litter quality, and soil C and N mineralization dynamics from a 9-year sheep grazing study in Inner Mongolia. Addressed are these questions: 1) How does increasing grazing intensity affect plant community composition? 2) How does increasing grazing intensity alter soil C and N mineralization dynamics? 3) Do changes in soil C and N mineralization dynamics relate to changes in plant community composition via inputs of the quality or quantity of litter? Grazing plots were set up near the Inner Mongolia Grassland Ecosystem Research Station (IMGERS) with 5 grazing intensities: 1.3, 2.7, 4.0, 5.3, and 6.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Plant cover was lower with increasing grazing intensity, which was primarily due to a dramatic decline in grasses, Carex duriuscula, and Artemisia frigida. Changes in litter mass and percentage organic C resulted in lower total C in the litter layer at 4.0 and 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr-1 compared with 2.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Total litter N was lower at 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr-1 compared with 2.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Litter C:N ratios, an index of litter quality, were significantly lower at 4.0 sheep ha-1??yr -1 relative to 1.3 and 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr -1. Cumulative C mineralized after 16 days decreased with increasing grazing intensity. In contrast, net N mineralization (NH4+ + NO3-) after a 12-day incubation increased with increasing grazing intensity. Changes in C and N mineralization resulted in a narrowing of CO2-C:net Nminratios with increasing grazing intensity. Grazing explained 31% of the variability in the ratio of CO 2-C:net Nmin. The ratio of CO2-C:net N min was positively correlated with litter mass. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between litter mass and A. frigida cover. Results suggest that as grazing intensity increases, microbes become more C limited resulting in decreased microbial growth and demand for N.

  2. Fire frequency and tree canopy structure influence plant species diversity in a forest-grassland ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    David W. Peterson; Peter B. Reich

    2008-01-01

    Disturbances and environmental heterogeneity are two factors thought to influence plant species diversity, but their effects are still poorly understood in many ecosystems. We surveyed understory vegetation and measured tree canopy cover on permanent plots spanning an experimental fire frequency gradient to test fire frequency and tree canopy effects on plant species...

  3. [Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea) in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mariottini, Yanina; De Wysiecki, María Laura; Lange, Carlos Ernesto

    2013-03-01

    In Argentina, the grasslands of Pampas region comprise approximately 15% of the country. As in other grasslands of the world, grasshoppers are among the most important native herbivores. Their economic importance has been recognized in Argentina since the mid to late nineteenth century, since outbreaks of different species have become recurrent phenomena. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to study their diversity and distribution in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region (Laprida county, Buenos Aires province), as one of the most affected areas. The study was conducted during five seasons (2005-10). Sampling sites were represented by the most common plant communities in this area, classified in four categories: native grasslands, disturbed grasslands, implanted pastures and halophilous grasslands. The samplings were conducted from mid-spring to early autumn, with five or six samples per season. We estimated the following population descriptors: species richness (S), eveness (E), dominance (J), and diversity index (H'). In order to evaluate the similitude of the grasshopper communities present in the different plant communities, we used qualitative and quantitative coefficients of similitude. A total of 22 species of grasshoppers were collected, of which 21 belong to the family Acrididae. The subfamily Melanoplinae was the most diverse with eight species. The largest species richness was recorded in native grasslands (18). The different communities of grasshoppers had similar indices of evenness and dominance (p>0.05). Considering all plant communities, the average value of Shannon-Wiener index was 1.58+/-0.075. There was a positive correlation between evenness index and species richness (pgrasshoppers species richness, and diversity of grasshoppers. According to the qualitative indices applied, the similitude between different grasshopper communities was higher than 60%. In general, the species that had a higher frequency of occurrence showed greater

  4. Plant-plant competition outcomes are modulated by plant effects on the soil bacterial community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hortal, S; Lozano, Y M; Bastida, F; Armas, C; Moreno, J L; Garcia, C; Pugnaire, F I

    2017-12-19

    Competition is a key process that determines plant community structure and dynamics, often mediated by nutrients and water availability. However, the role of soil microorganisms on plant competition, and the links between above- and belowground processes, are not well understood. Here we show that the effects of interspecific plant competition on plant performance are mediated by feedbacks between plants and soil bacterial communities. Each plant species selects a singular community of soil microorganisms in its rhizosphere with a specific species composition, abundance and activity. When two plant species interact, the resulting soil bacterial community matches that of the most competitive plant species, suggesting strong competitive interactions between soil bacterial communities as well. We propose a novel mechanism by which changes in belowground bacterial communities promoted by the most competitive plant species influence plant performance and competition outcome. These findings emphasise the strong links between plant and soil communities, paving the way to a better understanding of plant community dynamics and the effects of soil bacterial communities on ecosystem functioning and services.

  5. Effects of slurry application methods on soil faunal communities in permanent grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vliet, van P.C.J.; Goede, de R.G.M.

    2006-01-01

    We studied the effects of two slurry manure application methods, broadcasting manure slurry (MB) and manure slit injection (SMI), on soil faunal communities 1 week and 4 or 5 weeks after application in the spring of 2002 and the summer of 2003. No effect on total numbers of Enchytraeidae and

  6. Plant species diversity affects infiltration capacity in an experimental grassland through changes in soil properties

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fischer, C.; Tischer, J.; Roscher, C.; Eisenhauer, N.; Ravenek, J.; Gleixner, G.; Attinger, S.; Jensen, B.; Kroon, de H.; Mommer, L.; Scheu, S.; Hildebrandt, A.

    2015-01-01

    Background and aims Soil hydraulic properties drive water distribution and availability in soil. There exists limited knowledge of how plant species diversity might influence soil hydraulic properties. Methods We quantified the change in infiltration capacity affected by soil structural variables

  7. Plant trait-based models identify direct and indirect effects of climate change on bundles of grassland ecosystem services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamarque, Pénélope; Lavorel, Sandra; Mouchet, Maud; Quétier, Fabien

    2014-09-23

    Land use and climate change are primary causes of changes in the supply of ecosystem services (ESs). Although the consequences of climate change on ecosystem properties and associated services are well documented, the cascading impacts of climate change on ESs through changes in land use are largely overlooked. We present a trait-based framework based on an empirical model to elucidate how climate change affects tradeoffs among ESs. Using alternative scenarios for mountain grasslands, we predicted how direct effects of climate change on ecosystems and indirect effects through farmers' adaptations are likely to affect ES bundles through changes in plant functional properties. ES supply was overall more sensitive to climate than to induced management change, and ES bundles remained stable across scenarios. These responses largely reflected the restricted extent of management change in this constrained system, which was incorporated when scaling up plot level climate and management effects on ecosystem properties to the entire landscape. The trait-based approach revealed how the combination of common driving traits and common responses to changed fertility determined interactions and tradeoffs among ESs.

  8. The role of above-ground competition and nitrogen vs. phosphorus enrichment in seedling survival of common European plant species of semi-natural grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tobias Ceulemans

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic activities have severely altered fluxes of nitrogen and phosphorus in ecosystems worldwide. In grasslands, subsequent negative effects are commonly attributed to competitive exclusion of plant species following increased above-ground biomass production. However, some studies have shown that this does not fully account for nutrient enrichment effects, questioning whether lowering competition by reducing grassland productivity through mowing or herbivory can mitigate the environmental impact of nutrient pollution. Furthermore, few studies so far discriminate between nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. We performed a full factorial experiment in greenhouse mesocosms combining nitrogen and phosphorus addition with two clipping regimes designed to relax above-ground competition. Next, we studied the survival and growth of seedlings of eight common European grassland species and found that five out of eight species showed higher survival under the clipping regime with the lowest above-ground competition. Phosphorus addition negatively affected seven plant species and nitrogen addition negatively affected four plant species. Importantly, the negative effects of nutrient addition and higher above-ground competition were independent of each other for all but one species. Our results suggest that at any given level of soil nutrients, relaxation of above-ground competition allows for higher seedling survival in grasslands. At the same time, even at low levels of above-ground competition, nutrient enrichment negatively affects survival as compared to nutrient-poor conditions. Therefore, although maintaining low above-ground competition appears essential for species' recruitment, for instance through mowing or herbivory, these management efforts are likely to be insufficient and we conclude that environmental policies aimed to reduce both excess nitrogen and particularly phosphorus inputs are also necessary.

  9. Terrestrial ecology. Comprehensive study of the grassland biome

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1976-01-01

    Terrestrial ecology and grassland biome studies are designed to characterize the biota of the Hanford Reservation, elucidate seasonal dynamics of plant productivity, decomposition and mineral behavior patterns of important plant communities, and, to study the response of these communities to important natural environmental stresses, such as weather, wildfire and man-induced alterations of communities (influenced by grazing cattle and severe mechanical disturbance of the soil, such as affected by plowing or burial of waste materials or construction activities). A detailed account of the important findings of a 5-yr study is currently being prepared by the terrestrial ecology section staff for publication as a contribution to the International Biological Program Grassland Biome project

  10. Long-Term Overgrazing-Induced Memory Decreases Photosynthesis of Clonal Offspring in a Perennial Grassland Plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Weibo; Hu, Ningning; Hou, Xiangyang; Zhang, Jize; Guo, Huiqin; Liu, Zhiying; Kong, Lingqi; Wu, Zinian; Wang, Hui; Li, Xiliang

    2017-01-01

    Previous studies of transgenerational plasticity have demonstrated that long-term overgrazing experienced by Leymus chinensis , an ecologically dominant, rhizomatous grass species in eastern Eurasian temperate grassland, significantly affects its clonal growth in subsequent generations. However, there is a dearth of information on the reasons underlying this overgrazing-induced memory effect in plant morphological plasticity. We characterized the relationship between a dwarf phenotype and photosynthesis function decline of L. chinensis from the perspective of leaf photosynthesis by using both field measurement and rhizome buds culture cultivated in a greenhouse. Leaf photosynthetic functions (net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, intercellular carbon dioxide concentration, and transpiration rate) were significantly decreased in smaller L. chinensis individuals that were induced to have a dwarf phenotype by being heavily grazed in the field. This decreased photosynthetic function was maintained a generation after greenhouse tests in which grazing was excluded. Both the response of L. chinensis morphological traits and photosynthetic functions in greenhouse were deceased relative to those in the field experiment. Further, there were significant decreases in leaf chlorophyll content and Rubisco enzyme activities of leaves between bud-cultured dwarf and non-dwarf L. chinensis in the greenhouse. Moreover, gene expression patterns showed that the bud-cultured dwarf L. chinensis significantly down-regulated (by 1.86- to 5.33-fold) a series of key genes that regulate photosynthetic efficiency, stomata opening, and chloroplast development compared with the non-dwarf L. chinensis . This is among the first studies revealing a linkage between long-term overgrazing affecting the transgenerational morphological plasticity of clonal plants and physiologically adaptive photosynthesis function. Overall, clonal transgenerational effects in L. chinensis phenotypic traits

  11. Long-Term Overgrazing-Induced Memory Decreases Photosynthesis of Clonal Offspring in a Perennial Grassland Plant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiangyang Hou

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies of transgenerational plasticity have demonstrated that long-term overgrazing experienced by Leymus chinensis, an ecologically dominant, rhizomatous grass species in eastern Eurasian temperate grassland, significantly affects its clonal growth in subsequent generations. However, there is a dearth of information on the reasons underlying this overgrazing-induced memory effect in plant morphological plasticity. We characterized the relationship between a dwarf phenotype and photosynthesis function decline of L. chinensis from the perspective of leaf photosynthesis by using both field measurement and rhizome buds culture cultivated in a greenhouse. Leaf photosynthetic functions (net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, intercellular carbon dioxide concentration, and transpiration rate were significantly decreased in smaller L. chinensis individuals that were induced to have a dwarf phenotype by being heavily grazed in the field. This decreased photosynthetic function was maintained a generation after greenhouse tests in which grazing was excluded. Both the response of L. chinensis morphological traits and photosynthetic functions in greenhouse were deceased relative to those in the field experiment. Further, there were significant decreases in leaf chlorophyll content and Rubisco enzyme activities of leaves between bud-cultured dwarf and non-dwarf L. chinensis in the greenhouse. Moreover, gene expression patterns showed that the bud-cultured dwarf L. chinensis significantly down-regulated (by 1.86- to 5.33-fold a series of key genes that regulate photosynthetic efficiency, stomata opening, and chloroplast development compared with the non-dwarf L. chinensis. This is among the first studies revealing a linkage between long-term overgrazing affecting the transgenerational morphological plasticity of clonal plants and physiologically adaptive photosynthesis function. Overall, clonal transgenerational effects in L. chinensis

  12. Study of Plant Species Composition of Grasslands in Mugla Village Region (Western Rhodopes, South Bulgaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Plamen S. Stoyanov

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available The study presents data on the diversity of grass species in the region of the village of Mugla (the Western Rhodopes. One hundred forty-one species of higher plants belonging to 40families were registered. (Apiaceae, Aspleniaceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Brassicaceae,Campanulaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Cistaceae, Cyperaceae, Dipsacaceae, Equisetaceae, Ericaceae,Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Gentianaceae, Geraniaceae, Gesneriaceae, Hypericaceae, Juncaceae,Lamiaceae, Lemnaceae, Liliaceae, Linaceae, Menyanthaceae, Oleacea, Onagraceae, Orchidaceae,Parnassiaceae, Plantaginaceae, Plumbaginaceae, Poaceae, Polygalaceae, Primulaceae,Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, Saxifragaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Valerianaceae andViolaceae. Their conservation status was presented, as well as medicinal plants.

  13. PLANT COMMUNITIES OF ALBANIA - A PRELIMINARY OVERVIEW

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. DRING

    2002-04-01

    Full Text Available The phytosociological analysis of Albania was initiated by F. Markgraf in the 30ies, but still remains incomplete. This is a preliminary list of the plant communities resulting from the literature and from field research carried out during the last years and may represent a first contribution for further research. Many communities are described only by dominant species, other are quoted as nomina nuda. Some further syntaxa. probably present in the study area, are added.

  14. Species richness of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: associations with grassland plant richness and biomass

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hiiesalu, Inga; Pärtel, M.; Davison, J.; Gerhold, P.; Metsis, M.; Moora, M.; Öpik, M.; Vasar, M.; Zobel, M.; Wilson, S. D.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 203, č. 1 (2014), s. 233-244 ISSN 1469-8137 R&D Projects: GA MŠk EE2.3.30.0048 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : belowground plant richness * diversity * productivity Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 6.545, year: 2013

  15. Longterm changes in plant diversity of grasslands under agricultural and conservation management

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Snoo, de G.R.; Naus, N.; Verhulst, J.; Ruijven, van J.; Schaffers, A.P.

    2012-01-01

    Question In many industrialized countries biodiversity is declining. Although changes in species composition and species richness have been documented for many individual systems, little long-term research has been done on a regional scale. We compared the temporal patterns of plant diversity over

  16. A checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district, southern KwaZulu-Natal and a review of their status in the Red Data List

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham R.H. Grieve

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Eastern mistbelt forests are naturally fragmented forests with grassland which occur from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These were heavily logged by colonial settlers and continue to be harvested despite being protected. Consequently we documented a checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district (3029DA WEZA, southern KwaZulu-Natal, including Ngeli Forest and nearby indigenous forest patches to highlight their biodiversity status and need for conservation. We also reviewed their status in the Red Data List. Of the 1554 records included in this summary of plant species for the Weza district, there were 6 lichens (0.4%, 46 bryophytes (3.0%, 58 pteridophytes (3.7%, 6 gymnosperms (0.4% and the remaining 1424 species angiosperms (92.5%. Of the angiosperms, 27.3% were monocotyledons and 72.7% were dicotyledons. The most species-rich family was Asteraceae (239 species followed by Fabaceae (115 species, Liliaceae (used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 89 species, Orchidaceae (89 species, Iridaceae (59 species, Poaceae (58 species, Asclepidaceae (again used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 57 species, Scrophulariaceae (42 species, Euphorbiaceae (32 species, Lamiaceae (32 species and Rubiaceae (27 species. These 10 families each comprised more than 2% of the species in the list. Together they contributed 55% of the angiosperm species and 34.1% of the angiosperm genera. The biodiversity and conservation value of the study area are conserved pockets of eastern mistbelt forest, Drakensberg foothill moist grassland and mistbelt grassland. More than 4% of the species are under some degree of threat, as was evidenced by the number of species regarded as endangered (5, vulnerable (18, near threatened (10, critically rare (1, rare (20 or declining (11 amongst the 1554 species covered in the list. Conservation implications: In terms of taxa under some degree of threat, number of

  17. Off-road sampling reveals a different grassland bird community than roadside sampling: implications for survey design and estimates to guide conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Troy I. Wellicome

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Grassland bird species continue to decline steeply across North America. Road-based surveys such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS are often used to estimate trends and population sizes and to build species distribution models for grassland birds, although roadside survey counts may introduce bias in estimates because of differences in habitats along roadsides and in off-road surveys. We tested for differences in land cover composition and in the avian community on 21 roadside-based survey routes and in an equal number of adjacent off-road walking routes in the grasslands of southern Alberta, Canada. Off-road routes (n = 225 point counts had more native grassland and short shrubs and less fallow land and road area than the roadside routes (n = 225 point counts. Consequently, 17 of the 39 bird species differed between the two route types in frequency of occurrence and relative abundance, measured using an indicator species analysis. Six species, including five obligate grassland species, were more prevalent at off-road sites; they included four species listed under the Canadian federal Species At Risk Act or listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada: Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii, Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii, the Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus, and McCown's Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii. The six species were as much as four times more abundant on off-road sites. Species more prevalent along roadside routes included common species and those typical of farmland and other human-modified habitats, e.g., the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia, and the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus. Differences in avian community composition between roadside and off-road surveys suggest that the use of BBS data when generating population estimates or distribution models may overestimate certain common species and underestimate others of conservation

  18. Native plant community response to alien plant invasion and removal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jara ANDREU

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Given the potential ecological impacts of invasive species, removal of alien plants has become an important management challenge and a high priority for environmental managers. To consider that a removal effort has been successful requires both, the effective elimination of alien plants and the restoration of the native plant community back to its historical composition and function. We present a conceptual framework based on observational and experimental data that compares invaded, non-invaded and removal sites to quantify invaders’ impacts and native plant recover after their removal. We also conduct a meta-analysis to quantitatively evaluate the impacts of plant invaders and the consequences of their removal on the native plant community, across a variety of ecosystems around the world. Our results that invasion by alien plants is responsible for a local decline in native species richness and abundance. Our analysis also provides evidence that after removal, the native vegetation has the potential to recover to a pre-invasion target state. Our review reveal that observational and experimental approaches are rarely used in concert, and that reference sites are scarcely employed to assess native species recovery after removal. However, we believe that comparing invaded, non-invaded and removal sites offer the opportunity to obtain scientific information with relevance for management.

  19. Impact of Soil Warming on the Plant Metabolome of Icelandic Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gargallo-Garriga, Albert; Ayala-Roque, Marta; Granda, Victor; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Leblans, Niki I. W.; Oravec, Michal; Urban, Otmar; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2017-01-01

    Climate change is stronger at high than at temperate and tropical latitudes. The natural geothermal conditions in southern Iceland provide an opportunity to study the impact of warming on plants, because of the geothermal bedrock channels that induce stable gradients of soil temperature. We studied two valleys, one where such gradients have been present for centuries (long-term treatment), and another where new gradients were created in 2008 after a shallow crustal earthquake (short-term treatment). We studied the impact of soil warming (0 to +15 °C) on the foliar metabolomes of two common plant species of high northern latitudes: Agrostis capillaris, a monocotyledon grass; and Ranunculus acris, a dicotyledonous herb, and evaluated the dependence of shifts in their metabolomes on the length of the warming treatment. The two species responded differently to warming, depending on the length of exposure. The grass metabolome clearly shifted at the site of long-term warming, but the herb metabolome did not. The main up-regulated compounds at the highest temperatures at the long-term site were saccharides and amino acids, both involved in heat-shock metabolic pathways. Moreover, some secondary metabolites, such as phenolic acids and terpenes, associated with a wide array of stresses, were also up-regulated. Most current climatic models predict an increase in annual average temperature between 2–8 °C over land masses in the Arctic towards the end of this century. The metabolomes of A. capillaris and R. acris shifted abruptly and nonlinearly to soil warming >5 °C above the control temperature for the coming decades. These results thus suggest that a slight warming increase may not imply substantial changes in plant function, but if the temperature rises more than 5 °C, warming may end up triggering metabolic pathways associated with heat stress in some plant species currently dominant in this region. PMID:28832555

  20. [Energy accumulation and allocation of main plant populations in Aneurolepidium chinense grassland in Songnen Plain].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qu, Guohui; Wen, Mingzhang; Guo, Jixun

    2003-05-01

    The calorific value of plants is dependent on their biological characteristics and energy-containing materials. The allocation of calorific value in different organs of Aneurolepidium chinese, Calamagrostic epigejos, Puccinellia tenuiflora and Chloris virgata was inflorescence > leaf > stem > dead standing. The seasonal dynamics of standing crop energy of aboveground part of four plant populations showed single-peak curve, and the energy production was Aneurolepidium chinense > Calamagrostic epigejos > Chloris virgata > Puccinellia tenuiflora. Energy increasing rate showed double-peak curve, with the first peak at heading stage and the second peak at maturing stage of seeds. Energy increasing rate was negative at the final stage of growth. The horizontal distribution of energy of aboveground part was that the allocation ratio of different organs at different growth stages was different. There existed a similar trend for vertical distribution of energy among four plant populations, i.e., was the vertical distribution of energy of aboveground part showed a tower shape, with the maximum value in 10-30 cm height. The vertical distribution of energy of underground part showed an inverted tower shape from soil surface to deeper layer, with the maximum value in 0-10 cm depth. The standing crop energy of underground part was about 3-4 times than that of aboveground part.

  1. Effects of seed size and habitat on recruitment patterns in grassland and forest plants

    OpenAIRE

    Lönnberg, Karin

    2012-01-01

    A trade-off between seed size and seed number is central in seed ecology, and has been suggested to be related to a trade-off between competition and colonization, as well as to a trade-off between stress tolerance and fecundity. Large seeds endure hazards during establishment, such as shading, drought, litter coverage and competition from other plants, better than do small seeds, due to a larger amount of stored resources in the seed. Small seeds, however, are numerous and small-seeded speci...

  2. Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling in a Grassland Community Ecosystem as Affected by Elevated Atmospheric CO2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. A. Torbert

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Increasing global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 concentration has led to concerns regarding its potential effects on terrestrial ecosystems and the long-term storage of carbon (C and nitrogen (N in soil. This study examined responses to elevated CO2 in a grass ecosystem invaded with a leguminous shrub Acacia farnesiana (L. Willd (Huisache. Seedlings of Acacia along with grass species were grown for 13 months at CO2 concentrations of 385 (ambient, 690, and 980 μmol mol−1. Elevated CO2 increased both C and N inputs from plant growth which would result in higher soil C from litter fall, root turnover, and excretions. Results from the incubation indicated an initial (20 days decrease in N mineralization which resulted in no change in C mineralization. However, after 40 and 60 days, an increase in both C and N mineralization was observed. These increases would indicate that increases in soil C storage may not occur in grass ecosystems that are invaded with Acacia over the long term.

  3. Nuclear power plant and the host community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Olsson, G

    1978-10-27

    A councillor from a small Swedish community (Kaevlinge) in the vicinity of the Barsebaeck nuclear power plant describes the effects which the plant has had on neighbouring communities. The effect on the labour market has been small at Kaevlinge, both during routine operation and construction phases. This is however, a fairly densely populated area with a population of half a million in a radius of 30 km. The situation is different at Oskarshamn or Oesthammar. Neither has there been any special economic benefit, due to Swedish taxation laws. There has been little local anxiety due to the proximity of the nuclear power plant. Certain local planning problems have been caused by restricted zones and power cables. Cooperation between the local authorities and the utility has been good.

  4. Multi-level natural resources governance based on local community: A case study on semi-natural grassland in Tarōji, Nara, Japan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daisaku Shimada

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Japan is facing a bio-diversity crisis as a result of rapid industrialisation. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment formulated a National Biodiversity Strategy based on the Convention on Biological Diversity signed at the Earth Summit in 1992. After an amendment in 2002, the National Biodiversity Strategy addressed three crises in biodiversity: over-exploitation and development that destroys habitats, underutilisation (the satoyama problem and artificially introduced factors (chemicals, alien species and so on. This paper focuses on the second problem. Secondary natural environments called satoyama have been created and maintained over the centuries by human activity. Because natural environments in Japan have been affected by human-induced disturbances for 35,000 years, many species have evolved in response to these disturbances. If the human activities cease, many of the species that have evolved to survive in managed environments become threatened. Many satoyama have been managed as commonage or common lands, called iriai in Japan. One natural resource system created by commoners is semi-natural grassland, and economic modernisation has led to abandonment of traditional management practices on these grasslands – one of the more evident changes in Japanese iriai practices. Before industrialisation, semi-natural grasslands were managed as a source of green manure, as a harvest for roofing materials (thatch and as pasture for animals. After industrialisation, however, introduction of chemical fertilizers, changes in building practices and importation of animal feeds rapidly decreased the use value of these grasslands for local residents. On the other hand, their value as public goods – as historical, cultural landscapes and places of biodiversity – which concern a much broader population than the local community – became relatively more important. The resulting problem is how to manage this resource with its new value for new

  5. Species turnover drives β-diversity patterns across multiple spatial scales of plant-galling interactions in mountaintop grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coelho, Marcel Serra; Carneiro, Marco Antônio Alves; Branco, Cristina Alves; Borges, Rafael Augusto Xavier; Fernandes, Geraldo Wilson

    2018-01-01

    This study describes differences in species richness and composition of the assemblages of galling insects and their host plants at different spatial scales. Sampling was conducted along altitudinal gradients composed of campos rupestres and campos de altitude of two mountain complexes in southeastern Brazil: Espinhaço Range and Mantiqueira Range. The following hypotheses were tested: i) local and regional richness of host plants and galling insects are positively correlated; ii) beta diversity is the most important component of regional diversity of host plants and galling insects; and iii) Turnover is the main mechanism driving beta diversity of both host plants and galling insects. Local richness of galling insects and host plants increased with increasing regional richness of species, suggesting a pattern of unsaturated communities. The additive partition of regional richness (γ) into local and beta components shows that local richnesses (α) of species of galling insects and host plants are low relative to regional richness; the beta (β) component incorporates most of the regional richness. The multi-scale analysis of additive partitioning showed similar patterns for galling insects and host plants with the local component (α) incorporated a small part of regional richness. Beta diversity of galling insects and host plants were mainly the result of turnover, with little contribution from nesting. Although the species composition of galling insects and host plant species varied among sample sites, mountains and even mountain ranges, local richness remained relatively low. In this way, the addition of local habitats with different landscapes substantially affects regional richness. Each mountain contributes fundamentally to the composition of regional diversity of galling insects and host plants, and so the design of future conservation strategies should incorporate multiple scales.

  6. How do earthworms, soil texture and plant composition affect infiltration along an experimental plant diversity gradient in grassland?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Christine; Roscher, Christiane; Jensen, Britta; Eisenhauer, Nico; Baade, Jussi; Attinger, Sabine; Scheu, Stefan; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Schumacher, Jens; Hildebrandt, Anke

    2014-01-01

    Infiltration is a key process in determining the water balance, but so far effects of earthworms, soil texture, plant species diversity and their interaction on infiltration capacity have not been studied. We measured infiltration capacity in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density nested in plots of different plant species (1, 4, and 16 species) and plant functional group richness and composition (1 to 4 groups; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs). In summer, earthworm presence significantly increased infiltration, whereas in fall effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration were due to plant-mediated changes in earthworm biomass. Effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration even reversed effects of texture. We propose two pathways: (i) direct, probably by modifying the pore spectrum and (ii) indirect, by enhancing or suppressing earthworm biomass, which in turn influenced infiltration capacity due to change in burrowing activity of earthworms. Overall, the results suggest that spatial and temporal variations in soil hydraulic properties can be explained by biotic processes, especially the presence of certain plant functional groups affecting earthworm biomass, while soil texture had no significant effect. Therefore biotic parameters should be taken into account in hydrological applications.

  7. How do earthworms, soil texture and plant composition affect infiltration along an experimental plant diversity gradient in grassland?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine Fischer

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Infiltration is a key process in determining the water balance, but so far effects of earthworms, soil texture, plant species diversity and their interaction on infiltration capacity have not been studied. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We measured infiltration capacity in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density nested in plots of different plant species (1, 4, and 16 species and plant functional group richness and composition (1 to 4 groups; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs. In summer, earthworm presence significantly increased infiltration, whereas in fall effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration were due to plant-mediated changes in earthworm biomass. Effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration even reversed effects of texture. We propose two pathways: (i direct, probably by modifying the pore spectrum and (ii indirect, by enhancing or suppressing earthworm biomass, which in turn influenced infiltration capacity due to change in burrowing activity of earthworms. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, the results suggest that spatial and temporal variations in soil hydraulic properties can be explained by biotic processes, especially the presence of certain plant functional groups affecting earthworm biomass, while soil texture had no significant effect. Therefore biotic parameters should be taken into account in hydrological applications.

  8. Density-dependency and plant-soil feedback: former plant abundance influences competitive interactions between two grassland plant species through plant-soil feedbacks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Xue, W.; Bezemer, T.M.; Berendse, Frank

    2018-01-01

    Backgrounds and aims Negative plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) are thought to promote species coexistence, but most evidence is derived from theoretical models and data from plant monoculture experiments. Methods We grew Anthoxanthum odoratum and Centaurea jacea in field plots in monocultures and in

  9. Shifts in the phylogenetic structure and functional capacity of soil microbial communities follow alteration of native tussock grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wakelin, Steven A.; Barratt, Barbara I.P.; Gerard, Emily; Gregg, Adrienne L.; Brodie, Eoin L.; Andersen, Gary L.; DeSantis, Todd Z.; Zhou, Jizhong; He, Zhili; Kowalchuk, George A.; O'Callaghan, Maureen

    Globally, tussock-based grasslands are being modified to increase productive capacity. The impacts of cultivation and over-sowing with exotic grass and legumes on soil microbiology were assessed at four sites in New Zealand which differed in soil type, climate and vegetation. Primary alteration of

  10. Roles of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Abiotic Conditions in the Establishment of a Dry Grassland Community

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Knappová, Jana; Pánková, Hana; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 11, č. 7 (2016), s. 1-24 E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA15-11635S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : AMF * dry grassland commnunity * soil abiotic conditions Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  11. The structural and functional connectivity of the grassland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aavik, T; Holderegger, R; Bolliger, J

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the relationship between structural and functional connectivity is essential for successful restoration and conservation management, particularly in intensely managed agricultural landscapes. We evaluated the relationship between structural and functional connectivity of the wetland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi in a fragmented agricultural landscape using landscape genetic and network approaches. First, we studied the effect of structural connectivity, such as geographic distance and various landscape elements (forest, agricultural land, settlements and ditch verges), on gene flow among populations as a measurement of functional connectivity. Second, we examined the effect of structural graph-theoretic connectivity measures on gene flow among populations and on genetic diversity within populations of L. flos-cuculi. Among landscape elements, forests hindered gene flow in L. flos-cuculi, whereas gene flow was independent of geographic distance. Among the structural graph-theoretic connectivity variables, only intrapopulation connectivity, which was based on population size, had a significant positive effect on gene flow, that is, more gene flow took place among larger populations. Unexpectedly, interpopulation connectivity of populations, which takes into account the spatial location and distance among populations, did not influence gene flow in L. flos-cuculi. However, higher observed heterozygosity and lower inbreeding was observed in populations characterised by higher structural interpopulation connectivity. This finding shows that a spatially coherent network of populations is significant for maintaining the genetic diversity of populations. Nevertheless, lack of significant relationships between gene flow and most of the structural connectivity measures suggests that structural connectivity does not necessarily correspond to functional connectivity. PMID:24253937

  12. Grassland canopy parameters and their relationships to remotely sensed vegetation indices in the Nebraska Sand Hills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, Bruce K.; DeJong, Donovan D.; Tieszen, Larry L.; Biondini, Mario E.

    1996-01-01

    Relationships among spectral vegetation indices and grassland biophysical parameters including the effects of varying levels of standing dead vegetation, range sites, and range plant communities were examined. Range plant communities consisting of northern mixed grass prairie and a smooth brome field as well as range sites and management in a Sand Hills bluestem prairie were sampled with a ground radiometer and for LAI, biomass, chlorophy

  13. Relationships between botanical and chemical composition of forages: a multivariate approach to grasslands in the Western Italian Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ravetto Enri, Simone; Renna, Manuela; Probo, Massimiliano; Lussiana, Carola; Battaglini, Luca M; Lonati, Michele; Lombardi, Giampiero

    2017-03-01

    Plant composition of species-rich mountain grasslands can affect the sensorial and chemical attributes of dairy and meat products, with implications for human health. A multivariate approach was used to analyse the complex relationships between vegetation characteristics (botanical composition and plant community variables) and chemical composition (proximate constituents and fatty acid profile) in mesophilic and dry vegetation ecological groups, comprising six different semi-natural grassland types in the Western Italian Alps. Mesophilic and dry grasslands were comparable in terms of phenology, biodiversity indices and proportion of botanical families. The content of total fatty acids and that of the most abundant fatty acids (alpha-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acids) were mainly associated to nutrient-rich plant species, belonging to the mesophilic grassland ecological group. Mesophilic grasslands showed also higher values of crude protein, lower values of fibre content and they were related to higher pastoral values of vegetation compared to dry grasslands. The proximate composition and fatty acid profile appeared mainly single species dependent rather than botanical family dependent. These findings highlight that forage from mesophilic grasslands can provide higher nutritive value for ruminants and may be associated to ruminant-derived food products with a healthier fatty acid profile. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  14. Realistic diversity loss and variation in soil depth independently affect community-level plant nitrogen use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selmants, Paul C; Zavaleta, Erika S; Wolf, Amelia A

    2014-01-01

    Numerous experiments have demonstrated that diverse plant communities use nitrogen (N) more completely and efficiently, with implications for how species conservation efforts might influence N cycling and retention in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most such experiments have randomly manipulated species richness and minimized environmental heterogeneity, two design aspects that may reduce applicability to real ecosystems. Here we present results from an experiment directly comparing how realistic and randomized plant species losses affect plant N use across a gradient of soil depth in a native-dominated serpentine grassland in California. We found that the strength of the species richness effect on plant N use did not increase with soil depth in either the realistic or randomized species loss scenarios, indicating that the increased vertical heterogeneity conferred by deeper soils did not lead to greater complementarity among species in this ecosystem. Realistic species losses significantly reduced plant N uptake and altered N-use efficiency, while randomized species losses had no effect on plant N use. Increasing soil depth positively affected plant N uptake in both loss order scenarios but had a weaker effect on plant N use than did realistic species losses. Our results illustrate that realistic species losses can have functional consequences that differ distinctly from randomized losses, and that species diversity effects can be independent of and outweigh those of environmental heterogeneity on ecosystem functioning. Our findings also support the value of conservation efforts aimed at maintaining biodiversity to help buffer ecosystems against increasing anthropogenic N loading.

  15. The Importance of Biotic vs. Abiotic Drivers of Local Plant Community Composition Along Regional Bioclimatic Gradients.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari Klanderud

    Full Text Available We assessed if the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors for plant community composition differs along environmental gradients and between functional groups, and asked which implications this may have in a warmer and wetter future. The study location is a unique grid of sites spanning regional-scale temperature and precipitation gradients in boreal and alpine grasslands in southern Norway. Within each site we sampled vegetation and associated biotic and abiotic factors, and combined broad- and fine-scale ordination analyses to assess the relative explanatory power of these factors for species composition. Although the community responses to biotic and abiotic factors did not consistently change as predicted along the bioclimatic gradients, abiotic variables tended to explain a larger proportion of the variation in species composition towards colder sites, whereas biotic variables explained more towards warmer sites, supporting the stress gradient hypothesis. Significant interactions with precipitation suggest that biotic variables explained more towards wetter climates in the sub alpine and boreal sites, but more towards drier climates in the colder alpine. Thus, we predict that biotic interactions may become more important in alpine and boreal grasslands in a warmer future, although more winter precipitation may counteract this trend in oceanic alpine climates. Our results show that both local and regional scales analyses are needed to disentangle the local vegetation-environment relationships and their regional-scale drivers, and biotic interactions and precipitation must be included when predicting future species assemblages.

  16. Traits related to species persistence and dispersal explain changes in plant communities subjected to habitat loss

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Marini, Lorenzo; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Heikkinen, Risto

    2012-01-01

    Aim Habitat fragmentation is a major driver of biodiversity loss but it is insufficiently known how much its effects vary among species with different life-history traits; especially in plant communities, the understanding of the role of traits related to species persistence and dispersal in dete...... rural landscapes in NW Europe, mitigating the spatial isolation of remaining grasslands should be accompanied by restoration measures aimed at improving habitat quality for low competitors, abiotically dispersed and perennial, clonal species.......Aim Habitat fragmentation is a major driver of biodiversity loss but it is insufficiently known how much its effects vary among species with different life-history traits; especially in plant communities, the understanding of the role of traits related to species persistence and dispersal...... in determining dynamics of species communities in fragmented landscapes is still limited. The primary aim of this study was to test how plant traits related to persistence and dispersal and their interactions modify plant species vulnerability to decreasing habitat area and increasing isolation. Location Five...

  17. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bassin, S. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)]. E-mail: seraina.bassin@fal.admin.ch; Volk, M. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)

    2007-04-15

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles.

  18. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bassin, S.; Volk, M.; Fuhrer, J.

    2007-01-01

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles

  19. The relationship between plant species richness and soil pH vanishes with increasing aridity across Eurasian dry grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Palpurina, S.; Wagner, V.; von Wehrden, H.; Hájek, M.; Horsák, M.; Brinkert, A.; Hölzel, N.; Wesche, K.; Kamp, J.; Hájková, Petra; Danihelka, Jiří; Lustyk, P.; Merunková, K.; Preislerová, Z.; Kočí, M.; Kubešová, S.; Cherosov, M. M.; Ermakov, N.; German, D.; Gogoleva, P. A.; Lashchinsky, N.; Martynenko, V. B.; Chytrý, M.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 26, č. 4 (2017), s. 425-434 ISSN 1466-822X Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : diversity-environment relationship * dry grassland * precipitation * soil pH Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 6.045, year: 2016

  20. Plant interactions with multiple insect herbivores: from community to genes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stam, J.M.; Kroes, A.; Li, Y.; Gols, R.; Loon, van J.J.A.; Poelman, E.H.; Dicke, M.

    2014-01-01

    Every plant is a member of a complex insect community that consists of tens to hundreds of species that belong to different trophic levels. The dynamics of this community are critically influenced by the plant, which mediates interactions between community members that can occur on the plant

  1. Community-level effects of plant traits in a grassland community examined by multispecies model of clonal plant growth

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Herben, Tomáš; Wildová, Radka

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 234, Sp. Iss. (2012), s. 60-69 ISSN 0304-3800 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/1471; GA MŠk LC06073 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : spatial correlation * model * traits Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.069, year: 2012

  2. Responses of prairie arthropod communities to fire and fertilizer: Balancing plant and arthropod conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartley, M.K.; Rogers, W.E.; Siemann, E.; Grace, J.

    2007-01-01

    Fire is an important tool for limiting woody plant invasions into prairies, but using fire management to maintain grassland plant communities may inadvertently reduce arthropod diversity. To test this, we established twenty-four 100 m2 plots in a tallgrass prairie in Galveston County, Texas, in spring 2000. Plots were assigned a fire (no burn, one time burn [2000], two time burn [2000, 2001]) and fertilization treatment (none, NPK addition) in a full factorial design. Fertilization treatments allowed us to examine the effects of fire at a different level of productivity. We measured plant cover by species and sampled arthropods with sweep nets during the 2001 growing season. Path analysis indicated that fertilization reduced while annual fires increased arthropod diversity via increases and decreases in woody plant abundance, respectively. There was no direct effect of fire on arthropod diversity or abundance. Diptera and Homoptera exhibited particularly strong positive responses to fires. Lepidoptera had a negative response to nutrient enrichment. Overall, the negative effects of fire on the arthropod community were minor in contrast to the strong positive indirect effects of small-scale burning on arthropod diversity if conservation of particular taxa is not a priority. The same fire regime that minimized woody plant invasion also maximized arthropod diversity.

  3. Are there consistent grazing indicators in Drylands? Testing plant functional types of various complexity in South Africa's Grassland and Savanna Biomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anja Linstädter

    Full Text Available Despite our growing knowledge on plants' functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa's grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs. Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may

  4. Are there consistent grazing indicators in Drylands? Testing plant functional types of various complexity in South Africa's Grassland and Savanna Biomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linstädter, Anja; Schellberg, Jürgen; Brüser, Katharina; Moreno García, Cristian A; Oomen, Roelof J; du Preez, Chris C; Ruppert, Jan C; Ewert, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Despite our growing knowledge on plants' functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs) with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa's grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs). Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses) and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses) performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold) had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may also be useful

  5. Spatial Patterns of Species Diversity and Phylogenetic Structure of Plant Communities in the Tianshan Mountains, Arid Central Asia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hong-Xiang Zhang

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The Tianshan Mountains, located in arid Central Asia, have a humid climate and are biodiversity hotspots. Here, we aimed to clarify whether the pattern of species diversity and the phylogenetic structure of plant communities is affected by environmental variables and glacial refugia. In this study, plant community assemblies of 17 research sites with a total of 35 sample plots were investigated at the grassland/woodland boundaries on the Tianshan Mountains. Community phylogeny of these plant communities was constructed based on two plant DNA barcode regions. The indices of phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic community structure were calculated for these sample plots. We first estimated the correlation coefficients between species richness (SR and environmental variables as well as the presence of glacial refugia. We then mapped the significant values of indices of community phylogeny (PD, RPD, NRI, and NTI to investigate the correlation between community phylogeny and environmental structure or macrozones in the study area. The results showed that a significantly higher value of SR was obtained for the refugial groups than for the colonizing groups (P < 0.05; presence of refugia and environmental variables were highly correlated to the pattern of variation in SR. Indices of community phylogeny were not significantly different between refugial and colonizing regions. Comparison with the humid western part showed that plant communities in the arid eastern part of the Tianshan Mountains tended to display more significant phylogenetic overdispersion. The variation tendency of the PhyloSor index showed that the increase in macro-geographical and environmental distance did not influence obvious phylogenetic dissimilarities between different sample plots. In conclusion, glacial refugia and environmental factors profoundly influenced the pattern of SR, but community phylogenetic structure was not affected by glacial refugia among different plant

  6. Teasing apart plant community responses to N enrichment: the roles of resource limitation, competition and soil microbes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrer, Emily C; Suding, Katharine N

    2016-10-01

    Although ecologists have documented the effects of nitrogen enrichment on productivity, diversity and species composition, we know little about the relative importance of the mechanisms driving these effects. We propose that distinct aspects of environmental change associated with N enrichment (resource limitation, asymmetric competition, and interactions with soil microbes) drive different aspects of plant response. We test this in greenhouse mesocosms, experimentally manipulating each factor across three ecosystems: tallgrass prairie, alpine tundra and desert grassland. We found that resource limitation controlled productivity responses to N enrichment in all systems. Asymmetric competition was responsible for diversity declines in two systems. Plant community composition was impacted by both asymmetric competition and altered soil microbes, with some contributions from resource limitation. Results suggest there may be generality in the mechanisms of plant community change with N enrichment. Understanding these links can help us better predict N response across a wide range of ecosystems. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  7. Differential Responses of Soil Microbial Community to Four-Decade Long Grazing and Cultivation in a Semi-Arid Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yating He

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Grazing and cultivation are two important management practices worldwide that can cause significant soil organic carbon (SOC losses. However, it remains elusive how soil microbes have responded to soil carbon changes under these two practices. Based on a four-decade long field experiment, this study investigated the effects of grazing and cultivation on SOC stocks and microbial properties in the semi-arid grasslands of China. We hypothesize that grazing and cultivation would deplete SOC and depress microbial activities under both practices. However, our hypotheses were only partially supported. As compared with the adjacent indigenous grasslands, SOC and microbial biomass carbon (MBC were decreased by 20% or more under grazing and cultivation, which is consistent with the reduction of fungi abundance by 40% and 71%, respectively. The abundance of bacteria and actinomycetes was decreased under grazing but increased under cultivation, which likely enhanced microbial diversity in cultivation. Invertase activity decreased under the two treatments, while urease activity increased under grazing. These results suggest that nitrogen fertilizer input during cultivation may preferentially favor bacterial growth, in spite of SOC loss, due to rapid decomposition, while overgrazing may deteriorate the nitrogen supply to belowground microbes, thus stimulating the microbial production of nitrogen acquisition enzymes. This decade-long study demonstrated differential soil microbial responses under grazing and cultivation and has important applications for better management practices in the grassland ecosystem.

  8. Water and Nitrogen Limitations of Ecosystem Processes Across Three Dryland Plant Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltz, C.; Lauenroth, W. K.; Burke, I. C.

    2017-12-01

    The availability of water and nitrogen (N) play a major role in controlling the distribution of ecosystem types and the rates of ecosystem processes across the globe. Both these resources are being altered by human activity. Anthropogenic fixation of N has increased inputs into the biosphere from 0.5 kg N ha-1 yr-1 to upwards of 10 kg N ha-1 yr-1, while the amount and seasonality of precipitation are expected to continue to change. Within dryland environments, the relationships between increasingly available N and ecosystem processes are especially complex due to dryland's characteristic strong limitation by low and highly variable precipitation. Other experiments have shown that this interplay between N and water can cause temporally complex co-limitation and spatially complex responses with variable effects on ecosystems, such as those to net primary productivity, soil respiration, and plant community composition. Research spanning multiple dryland plant communities is critical for generalizing findings to the 40% of the Earth's terrestrial surface covered in dryland ecosystems. Given IPCC projections in which both N availability and precipitation are altered, examining their interactive effect across multiple plant communities is critical to increasing our understanding of the limitations to ecosystem process in drylands. We are studying a gradient of three plant communities representing a C4 grassland (shortgrass steppe), a C3/C4 grassland (mixed grass prairie), and a shrub-dominated ecosystem with C3 and C4 grasses (sagebrush steppe). We added two levels of N (10 kg N ha-1 and 100 kg N ha-1) and increased summer monthly precipitation by 20%. Sites responded differently to treatments, with the scale of effect varying by treatment. The high-level nitrogen increased soil N availability and soil respiration, while decreasing soil carbon in the labile pool in the upper soil layers. These results will allow for better understanding of increased N in combination with

  9. The cultivation bias: different communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi detected in roots from the field, from bait plants transplanted to the field, and from a greenhouse trap experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sýkorová, Zuzana; Ineichen, Kurt; Wiemken, Andres; Redecker, Dirk

    2007-12-01

    The community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was investigated in roots of four different plant species (Inula salicina, Medicago sativa, Origanum vulgare, and Bromus erectus) sampled in (1) a plant species-rich calcareous grassland, (2) a bait plant bioassay conducted directly in that grassland, and (3) a greenhouse trap experiment using soil and a transplanted whole plant from that grassland as inoculum. Roots were analyzed by AMF-specific nested polymerase chain reaction, restriction fragment length polymorphism screening, and sequence analyses of rDNA small subunit and internal transcribed spacer regions. The AMF sequences were analyzed phylogenetically and used to define monophyletic phylotypes. Overall, 16 phylotypes from several lineages of AMF were detected. The community composition was strongly influenced by the experimental approach, with additional influence of cultivation duration, substrate, and host plant species in some experiments. Some fungal phylotypes, e.g., GLOM-A3 (Glomus mosseae) and several members of Glomus group B, appeared predominantly in the greenhouse experiment or in bait plants. Thus, these phylotypes can be considered r strategists, rapidly colonizing uncolonized ruderal habitats in early successional stages of the fungal community. In the greenhouse experiment, for instance, G. mosseae was abundant after 3 months, but could not be detected anymore after 10 months. In contrast, other phylotypes as GLOM-A17 (G. badium) and GLOM-A16 were detected almost exclusively in roots sampled from plants naturally growing in the grassland or from bait plants exposed in the field, indicating that they preferentially occur in late successional stages of fungal communities and thus represent the K strategy. The only phylotype found with high frequency in all three experimental approaches was GLOM A-1 (G. intraradices), which is known to be a generalist. These results indicate that, in greenhouse trap experiments, it is difficult

  10. Grassland ecology and diversity (Ecologia y diversidad de pastizales)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurie B. Abbott

    2006-01-01

    Grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert region are ecologically and economically important. These grasslands are valued for their rangeland, wildlife, watershed, and recreation resources. Biological diversity also raises the value of grassland communities. The potential for multiple uses within the region increases as the diversity of the resource base increases. In order...

  11. Assessing the biophysical naturalness of grassland in eastern North Dakota with hyperspectral imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Qiang

    Over the past two decades, non-native species within grassland communities have quickly developed due to human migration and commerce. Invasive species like Smooth Brome grass (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa pratensis), seriously threaten conservation of native grasslands. This study aims to discriminate between native grasslands and planted hayfields and conservation areas dominated by introduced grasses using hyperspectral imagery. Hyperspectral imageries from the Hyperion sensor on EO-1 were acquired in late spring and late summer on 2009 and 2010. Field spectra for widely distributed species as well as smooth brome grass and Kentucky blue grass were collected from the study sites throughout the growing season. Imagery was processed with an unmixing algorithm to estimate fractional cover of green and dry vegetation and bare soil. As the spectrum is significantly different through growing season, spectral libraries for the most common species are then built for both the early growing season and late growing season. After testing multiple methods, the Adaptive Coherence Estimator (ACE) was used for spectral matching analysis between the imagery and spectral libraries. Due in part to spectral similarity among key species, the results of spectral matching analysis were not definitive. Additional indexes, "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance", were calculated to measure the predominance of spectral signatures in any area. A Texture co-occurrence analysis was also performed on both "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" indexes to extract spatial characteristics. The results suggest that compared with disturbed area, native prairie tend to have generally lower "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" as well as lower spatial dissimilarity. A final decision tree model was created to predict presence of native or introduced grassland. The model was more effective for identification of Mixed Native Grassland than for grassland dominated by a single

  12. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daebeler, Anne; Abell, Guy C. J.; Bodelier, Paul L. E.; Bodrossy, Levente; Frampton, Dion M. F.; Hefting, Mariet M.; Laanbroek, Hendrikus J.

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively) to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilization site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative polymerase chain reaction suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while soil physio-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization. PMID:23060870

  13. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anne eDaebeler

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of the associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilisation site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative PCR suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while the measured soil physico-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization.

  14. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daebeler, Anne; Abell, Guy C J; Bodelier, Paul L E; Bodrossy, Levente; Frampton, Dion M F; Hefting, Mariet M; Laanbroek, Hendrikus J

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively) to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilization site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative polymerase chain reaction suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while soil physio-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization.

  15. Belowground Water Dynamics Under Contrasting Annual and Perennial Plant Communities in an Agriculturally-Dominated Landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, G.; Asbjornsen, H.; Helmers, M. J.; Shepherd, G. W.

    2005-12-01

    The conversion from grasslands and forests to row-crops in the Midwest has affected soil water cycling because plant characteristics are one of the main parameters determining soil storage capacity, infiltration rates, and surface runoff. Little is known, however, about the extent of modification of soil water dynamics under different plant communities. To address this important issue, we are documenting soil water dynamics under contrasting perennial and annual plant communities in an agriculturally-dominated landscape. Measurements of soil moisture and depths of uptake of source water were obtained for six vegetative cover types (corn and soybean field, brome pasture, degraded savanna, restored savanna, and restored prairie) at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa. The depths of uptake of soil water were determined on the basis of oxygen isotope composition of soil water and stem water. Measurements were performed once a month during an entire growing season. Preliminary results indicate that soil water present under the different vegetation types show similar profiles with depth during the dry months. Soil water in the upper 5 cm is enriched in oxygen-18 by about 5 per mil relative to soil water at 100 cm. Our preliminary results also indicate that the isotopic composition of stem water from annual plants is typically higher by about 2 per mil relative to that of stem water from perennial plants during the dry period. Whereas the oxygen isotopic composition for corn stem water is -5.49 per mil, that for elm and oak stem water is -7.62 and -7.51 per mil, respectively. The higher isotope values for corn suggest that annual crop plants are withdrawing water from shallower soil horizons relative to perennial plants. Moreover, our preliminary data suggest lower moisture content in soil under annual plant cover. We propose that the presence of deeper roots in the perennial vegetation allows these plants to tap into deeper water sources when

  16. Are There Consistent Grazing Indicators in Drylands? Testing Plant Functional Types of Various Complexity in South Africa’s Grassland and Savanna Biomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linstädter, Anja; Schellberg, Jürgen; Brüser, Katharina; Moreno García, Cristian A.; Oomen, Roelof J.; du Preez, Chris C.; Ruppert, Jan C.; Ewert, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Despite our growing knowledge on plants’ functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs) with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa’s grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs). Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses) and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses) performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold) had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may also be

  17. Changes in root-associated microbial communities are determined by species-specific plant growth responses to stress and disturbance

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bouasria, A.; Mustafa, T.; de Bello, Francesco; Zinger, L.; Lemperiere, G.; Geremia, R. A.; Choler, P.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 52, Sep-Oct 2012 (2012), s. 59-66 ISSN 1164-5563 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : ecosystem function * bacterial communities * grassland communities Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.838, year: 2012

  18. Negative and positive interactions among plants: effects of competitors and litter on seedling emergence and growth of forest and grassland species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loydi, A; Donath, T W; Otte, A; Eckstein, R L

    2015-05-01

    Living plant neighbours, but also their dead aboveground remains (i.e. litter), may individually exert negative or positive effects on plant recruitment. Although living plants and litter co-occur in most ecosystems, few studies have addressed their combined effects, and conclusions are ambivalent. Therefore, we examined the response in terms of seedling emergence and growth of herbaceous grassland and forest species to different litter types and amounts and the presence of competitors. We conducted a pot experiment testing the effects of litter type (grass, oak), litter amount (low, medium, high) and interspecific competition (presence or absence of four Festuca arundinacea individuals) on seedling emergence and biomass of four congeneric pairs of hemicryptophytes from two habitat types (woodland, grassland). Interactions between litter and competition were weak. Litter presence increased competitor biomass. It also had positive effects on seedling emergence at low litter amounts and negative effects at high litter amounts, while competition had no effect on seedling emergence. Seedling biomass was negatively affected by the presence of competitors, and this effect was stronger in combination with high amounts of litter. Litter affected seedling emergence while competition determined the biomass of the emerged individuals, both affecting early stages of seedling recruitment. High litter accumulation also reduced seedling biomass, but this effect seemed to be additive to competitor effects. This suggests that live and dead plant mass can affect species recruitment in natural systems, but the mechanisms by which they operate and their timing differ. © 2014 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  19. Plant community responses to climate change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kongstad, J.

    2012-07-01

    ecosystem more resilient to the climatic treatments than expected. We also found that the amount of flowering culms of D. flexuosa increased in response to increased CO{sub 2}, whereas the seed germination success decreased. The bryophyte biomass and the nitrogen content decreased in response to nitrogen addition. Even such apparently minor changes might, given time, affect the plant composition and thereby possibly also the major ecosystem processes. Further, we observed changes in the aboveground plant composition in response to the climate manipulations at the Mols site, where C. vulgaris was regenerating after a disturbance. Here a decrease in biomass of the pioneer stage was seen, when subjected to the drought treatment compared to warmed and control treatments. I therefore conclude, that the stage of the C. vulgaris population as well as the magnitude and frequency of disturbances determine the effects of future climate change on the plant community in heathland ecosystems. (Author)

  20. Spatial Pattern and Scale Influence Invader Demographic Response to Simulated Precipitation Change in an Annual Grassland Community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meghan J Skaer Thomason

    Full Text Available It is important to predict which invasive species will benefit from future changes in climate, and thereby identify those invaders that need particular attention and prioritization of management efforts. Because establishment, persistence, and spread determine invasion success, this prediction requires detailed demographic information. Explicit study of the impact of pattern on demographic response is particularly important for species that are naturally patchy, such as the invasive grass, Aegilops triuncialis. In the northern California Coast Range, where climate change may increase or decrease mean annual rainfall, we conducted a field experiment to understand the interaction of climate change and local-scale patterning on the demography of A. triuncialis. We manipulated precipitation (reduced, ambient, or augmented, seed density, and seeding pattern. Demographic and environmental data were collected for three years following initial seeding. Pattern and scale figure prominently in the demographic response of A. triuncialis to precipitation manipulation. Pattern interacts with precipitation and seeding density in its influence on per-plant seed output. Although per-plot seed production was highest when seeds were not aggregated, per-plant seed output was higher in aggregated patches. Results suggest aggregation of invasive A. triuncialis reduces the detrimental impact of interspecific competition in its invaded community, and that interspecific competition per se has a stronger impact than intraspecific competition.

  1. Non-native earthworms promote plant invasion by ingesting seeds and modifying soil properties

    OpenAIRE

    Clause, J.; Forey, E.; Lortie, C. J.; Lambert, A. M.; Barot, Sébastien

    2015-01-01

    Earthworms can have strong direct effects on plant communities through consumption and digestion of seeds, however it is unclear how earthworms may influence the relative abundance and composition of plant communities invaded by non-native species. In this study, earthworms, seed banks, and the standing vegetation were sampled in a grassland of central California. Our objectives were i) to examine whether the abundances of non-native, invasive earthworm species and non-native grassland plant ...

  2. Investigating Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Community Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franklin, Wilfred

    2008-01-01

    In this article, the author presents a field study project that explores factors influencing forest community structure and lifts the veil off of "plant blindness." This ecological study consists of three laboratories: (1) preliminary field trip to the study site; (2) plant survey; and (3) analyzing plant community structure with descriptive…

  3. The physical environment and major plant communities of the Karoo National Park, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francine Rubin

    1996-08-01

    Full Text Available The major plant communities of the Karoo National Park are described using the methods of the Zurich-Montpellier school of phytosociology, to assist with the formulation of a management strategy for the park. The vegetation physiognomy consists of Montane Karoo grassy shrublands. Karoo grassy dwarf shrublands. Karoo succulent dwarf shrublands and riparian thicket. Steep elevation and precipitation gradients within the study area have a direct impact on gradients in the vegetation. High elevation (1 800 m, and relatively high rainfall (406 mm montane grasslands occupy communities dominated by grasses (Merxmuellera disticha, Themeda triandra and woody species (Diospyros austro-africana, Elytropappus rhinocerotis, Euryops annae, Passerina montana. The increasing aridity away from the escarpment edge in a northerly direction is steep, and Montane Karoo dwarf shrublands replace these mesic communities. Species such as Eriocephalus ericoides, Rosenia oppositifolia and Pteronia tricephala dominate. At lower elevation (800 m the precipitation is very low (175 mm and uncertain (coefficient of variation of 78 . The substrata influence the vegetation, with the sandy substrata of the drainage lines supporting more woody taxa (Acacia karroo, Lycium cinereum and grasses (Hyparrhenia hirta, Stipagrostis namaquensis, Cenchrus ciliaris. Moving away from the mesic environment of the riparian zone, rapid desiccation occurs and the most xeric communities are encountered, dominated by Stipagrostis obtusa, S. ciliata and Pent-da incana. This document provides descriptions of the general communities and their associated landscape, lithology and soils.

  4. Asymmetric responses of primary productivity to precipitation extremes: A synthesis of grassland precipitation manipulation experiments

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Wilcox, K. R.; Shi, Z.; Gherardi, L. A.; Lemoine, N. P.; Koerner, S. E.; Hoover, D. L.; Bork, E.; Byrne, K. M.; Cahill, J.; Collins, S. L.; Evans, S.M.; Gilgen, Anna K.; Holub, Petr; Jiang, L.; Knapp, A. K.; LeCain, D.; Liang, J.; Garcia-Palacios, P.; Penuelas, J.; Pockman, W. T.; Smith, M. D.; Sun, S.; White, S. R.; Yahdjian, L.; Zhu, K.; Luo, Y.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 23, č. 10 (2017), s. 4376-4385 ISSN 1354-1013 Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : net primary productivity * terrestrial ecosystems * temperate grassland * biomass allocation * plant-communities * tallgrass prairie * climate extremes * use efficiency * united-states * global-change * aboveground net primary productivity * belowground net primary productivity * biomass allocation * climate change * grasslands * meta-analysis * root biomass Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7) Impact factor: 8.502, year: 2016

  5. Plant community structure regulates responses of prairie soil respiration to decadal experimental warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xia; Shi, Zheng; Li, Dejun; Zhou, Xuhui; Sherry, Rebecca A; Luo, Yiqi

    2015-10-01

    Soil respiration is recognized to be influenced by temperature, moisture, and ecosystem production. However, little is known about how plant community structure regulates responses of soil respiration to climate change. Here, we used a 13-year field warming experiment to explore the mechanisms underlying plant community regulation on feedbacks of soil respiration to climate change in a tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma, USA. Infrared heaters were used to elevate temperature about 2 °C since November 1999. Annual clipping was used to mimic hay harvest. Our results showed that experimental warming significantly increased soil respiration approximately from 10% in the first 7 years (2000-2006) to 30% in the next 6 years (2007-2012). The two-stage warming stimulation of soil respiration was closely related to warming-induced increases in ecosystem production over the years. Moreover, we found that across the 13 years, warming-induced increases in soil respiration were positively affected by the proportion of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) contributed by C3 forbs. Functional composition of the plant community regulated warming-induced increases in soil respiration through the quantity and quality of organic matter inputs to soil and the amount of photosynthetic carbon (C) allocated belowground. Clipping, the interaction of clipping with warming, and warming-induced changes in soil temperature and moisture all had little effect on soil respiration over the years (all P > 0.05). Our results suggest that climate warming may drive an increase in soil respiration through altering composition of plant communities in grassland ecosystems. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Functional responses of plant communities to management, landscape and historical factors in semi-natural grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Vandewalle, M.; Pursche, O.; de Bello, Francesco; Reitalu, T.; Prentice, H. C.; Lavorel, S.; Johansson, L. J.; Sykes, M. T.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 25, č. 3 (2014), s. 750-759 ISSN 1100-9233 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : biodiversity loss * grazing management * landscape history Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.709, year: 2014

  7. Exploring Life Forms for Linking Orthopteran Assemblage and Grassland Plant Community

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Labadessa Rocco

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Kobilice predstavljajo večino biomase žuželk v številnih travniških ekosistemih. Vendar povezava med tradicionalnimi opisi združb kobilic in rastlinskimi združbami ni enostavna. Raziskali smo uporabnost koncepta življenjskih oblik za proučevanje teh ekosistemskih odnosov. Za ta namen smo klasificirali trideset vzorčenih pol-naravnih karbonatnih travišč na podlagi deleža dominantnih življenjskih oblik zelišč. Vrste kobilic smo združili v štiri kategorije na podlagi kategorizacije življenjskih oblik po Bei-Bienko. Povezavo rastlinskih združb, vrstne sestave kobilic in okoljskih dejavnikov smo testirali z kanonično korespondenčno analizo. Skupine Orthoptera so se pojavljale v rastlinskih združbah in nakazovale tudi vpliv vegetacijskih sprememb na vrstno sestavo kobilic. Vrste giobiontov so se pojavljale v najbolj motenih rastlinskih združbah, medtem ko so hortobionti in tamnobionti bolj navezani na bolj ohranjene traviščne tipe. Zaključimo lahko, da nam življenjske oblike lahko pomagajo povezati vrstno sestavo kobilic s naravovarstvenim statusom travišča. Informacija o teh odnosih v združbi na lokalni ravni lahko pomaga upravljavcem pri tolmačenju kart, ki prikazujejo spremembe v habitatnih tipih kot spremembe v biodiverziteti.

  8. Detecting local adaptation in widespread grassland species – the importance of scale and local plant community

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bischoff, A.; Crémieux, L.; Šmilauerová, M.; Lawson, C.S.; Mortimer, S. R.; Doležal, Jiří; Lanta, Vojtěch; Edwards, A.R.; Brook, A.J.; Macel, M.; Lepš, J.; Steinger, T.; Müller-Schärer, H.

    2006-01-01

    Roč. 94, - (2006), s. 1130-1142 ISSN 0022-0477 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : reciprocal transplant experiment * geographical distance * Holcus lanatus Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 4.239, year: 2006

  9. Comparison of plant species composition and heat balance in three mountain grassland communities

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Šmahel, L.; Schusserová, A.; Květ, Jan

    2001-01-01

    Roč. 7, - (2001), s. 55-67 ISSN 1211-7420 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/99/1410; GA Mžp SE/620/5/97 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z6005908; CEZ:MSM 123100004 Keywords : Bohemian Forest * meadows * phytocenology * gradient analysis * solar radiation * PhAR attenuation * evapotranspiration Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour

  10. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tonneijck, A E G; Franzaring, J; Brouwer, G; Metselaar, K; Dueck, Th A

    2004-09-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l(-1) ozone (CF+25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l(-1) ozone (NF+25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l(-1) ozone (NF+50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species.

  11. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, Th.A

    2004-09-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l{sup -1} ozone (CF + 25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l{sup -1} ozone (NF + 25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l{sup -1} ozone (NF + 50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species.

  12. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, Th.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l -1 ozone (CF + 25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l -1 ozone (NF + 25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l -1 ozone (NF + 50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species

  13. Interactions between above- and belowground biota: importance for small-scale vegetation mosaics in a grassland ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blomqvist, M.M.; Olff, H.; Blaauw, M.B.; Bongers, T.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2000-01-01

    Grasslands are often characterised by small-scale mosaics in plant community composition that contribute to their diversity. Although above- and belowground biota can both cause such mosaics, few studies have addressed their interacting effects. We studied multi-trophic interactions between

  14. Interactions between above- and belowground biota : importance for small-scale vegetation mosaics in a grassland ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blomqvist, N.M.; Olff, H.; Blaauw, M.B.; Bongers, T.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2000-01-01

    Grasslands are often characterised by small-scale mosaics in plant community composition that contribute to their diversity. Although above- and belowground biota can both cause such mosaics, few studies have addressed their interacting effects. We studied multi-trophic interactions between

  15. Phosphorus and Defoliation Interact and Improve the Growth and Composition of the Plant Community and Soil Properties in an Alpine Pasture of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Juan; Nie, Zhongnan; Jiao, Ting; Zhang, Degang

    2015-01-01

    Pasture degradation caused by overgrazing and inappropriate fertiliser management is a major production and environmental threat in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Previous research has focused on the effects of mixed nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertiliser and reduced grazing pressure on the plant community of the grassland; however, the role of P and how it interacts with various defoliation (the process of the complete or partial removal of the above-ground parts of plants by grazing or cutting) intensities on the plant and soil of the grassland ecosystem have not been quantified. A field experiment was conducted to quantify how P application in combination of defoliation pressure could impact the dynamic change of the plant and soil in a native alpine grassland ecosystem of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China, from May 2012 to September 2014. A split-plot design with 4 replicates and repeated measures was used to determine the growth and composition of plant community and soil physical and chemical properties under various levels of P fertiliser and defoliation intensity. The results showed that applying 20 kg P/ha increased the herbage yield of Melissitus ruthenica by 68% and total pasture yield by 25%. Close defoliation favoured the growth and plant frequency of the shorter species, whereas lax defoliation favoured that of the taller plant species. Medium P rate and cutting to 3 cm above ground gave an overall best outcome in pasture yield, quality and frequency and soil moisture and nutrient concentration. Application of P fertiliser with a moderate defoliation pressure to promote legume growth and N fixation has the potential to achieve multiple benefits in increasing pasture and livestock production and improving environmental sustainability in the alpine pasture of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a fragile and P-deficient ecosystem zone in China and its western neighbouring countries.

  16. Intensive land use drives small-scale homogenization of plant- and leafhopper communities and promotes generalists.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chisté, Melanie N; Mody, Karsten; Kunz, Gernot; Gunczy, Johanna; Blüthgen, Nico

    2018-02-01

    The current biodiversity decline through anthropogenic land-use not only involves local species losses, but also homogenization of communities, with a few generalist species benefitting most from human activities. Most studies assessed community heterogeneity (β-diversity) on larger scales by comparing different sites, but little is known about impacts on β-diversity within each site, which is relevant for understanding variation in the level of α-diversity, the small-scale distribution of species and associated habitat heterogeneity. To obtain our dataset with 36,899 individuals out of 117 different plant- and leafhopper (Auchenorrhyncha) species, we sampled communities of 140 managed grassland sites across Germany by quantitative vacuum suction of five 1 m 2 plots on each site. Sites differed in land-use intensity as characterized by intensity of fertilization, mowing and grazing. Our results demonstrate a significant within-site homogenization of plant- and leafhopper communities with increasing land-use intensity. Correspondingly, density (- 78%) and γ-diversity (- 35%) declined, particularly with fertilization and mowing intensity. More than 34% of plant- and leafhopper species were significant losers and only 6% were winners of high land-use intensity, with abundant and widespread species being less affected. Increasing land-use intensity adversely affected dietary specialists and promoted generalist species. Our study emphasizes considerable, multifaceted effects of land-use intensification on species loss, with a few dominant generalists winning, and an emerging trend towards more homogenized assemblages. By demonstrating homogenization for the first time within sites, our study highlights that anthropogenic influences on biodiversity even occur on small scales.

  17. Positive effects of plant species diversity on productivity in the absence of legumes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ruijven, van J.; Berendse, F.

    2003-01-01

    We investigated the effect of species richness on productivity in randomly assembled grassland communities without legumes. Aboveground biomass increased with increasing species richness and different measures of complementarity showed strong increases with plant species richness. Increasing

  18. Plant community analysis and ecology of afromontane and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The plant communities of the forests of southwestern Ethiopia were described based on floristic analysis of the data collected between February 1995 and May 1996. Floristic analysis is based on the cover-abundance values of both woody and herbaceous species. Plant community-environment relationship was assessed ...

  19. Does the stress tolerance of mixed grassland communities change in a future climate? A test with heavy metal stress (zinc pollution).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van den Berge, Joke; Naudts, Kim; Janssens, Ivan A; Ceulemans, Reinhart; Nijs, Ivan

    2011-12-01

    Will species that are sensitive/tolerant to Zn pollution still have the same sensitivity/tolerance in a future climate? To answer this question we analysed the response of constructed grassland communities to five levels of zinc (Zn) supply, ranging from 0 to 354 mg Zn kg(-1) dry soil, under a current climate and a future climate (elevated CO2 and warming). Zn concentrations increased in roots and shoots with Zn addition but this increase did not differ between climates. Light-saturated net CO2 assimilation rate (A(sat)) of the species, on the other hand, responded differently to Zn addition depending on climate. Still, current and future climate communities have comparable biomass responses to Zn, i.e., no change in root biomass and a 13% decrease of above-ground biomass. Provided that the different response of A(sat) in a future climate will not compromise productivity and survival on the long term, sensitivity is not altered by climate change. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. High potential of sub-Mediterranean dry grasslands for sheep epizoochory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaligarič Mitja

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available There is a general decline of grasslands across Europe due to habitat loss and degradation. Ensuring plant dispersal thus becomes a key process for preserving grassland patches in all scales. We examined diaspore dispersal by sheep epizoochory in the pastures of the North Adriatic Karst (NW Slovenia and determined the qualitative and quantitative features of diaspores in fur. We recorded 25,650 diaspores of 141 plant taxa (with 107 taxa and 23,350 diaspores determined to species level, using three different methods: (i the “whole-coat method”, (ii the “part-of-thecoat method” and (iii a “seedling emergence method”. A comparison of these techniques revealed that the “wholecoat method” provided the highest number of diaspores and plant species. All diaspores were clustered into five emergent groups based on seven functional traits (diaspore weight, length, width, height, volume, specific weight and the diaspore surface structure. Our research revealed that sheep represent an important dispersal vector, since about half of the plant species recorded in the pastures were found as diaspores in fur. This study contributes to knowledge about the modes of seed dispersal in seminatural grasslands. Taking into account that livestock play a key role in vegetation dynamics, understanding their effects on seed dispersal is essential for conservation and restoration of these species-rich grassland communities.

  1. Site and plant species are important determinants of the Methylobacterium community composition in the plant phyllosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knief, Claudia; Ramette, Alban; Frances, Lisa; Alonso-Blanco, Carlos; Vorholt, Julia A

    2010-06-01

    The plant phyllosphere constitutes a habitat for numerous microorganisms; among them are members of the genus Methylobacterium. Owing to the ubiquitous occurrence of methylobacteria on plant leaves, they represent a suitable target for studying plant colonization patterns. The influence of the factor site, host plant species, time and the presence of other phyllosphere bacteria on Methylobacterium community composition and population size were evaluated in this study. Leaf samples were collected from Arabidopsis thaliana or Medicago truncatula plants and from the surrounding plant species at several sites. The abundance of cultivable Methylobacterium clearly correlated with the abundance of other phyllosphere bacteria, suggesting that methylobacteria constitute a considerable and rather stable fraction of the phyllosphere microbiota under varying environmental conditions. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was applied to characterize the Methylobacterium community composition and showed the presence of similar communities on A. thaliana plants at most sites in 2 consecutive years of sampling. A substantial part of the observed variation in the community composition was explained by site and plant species, especially in the case of the plants collected at the Arabidopsis sites (50%). The dominating ARISA peaks that were detected on A. thaliana plants were found on other plant species grown at the same site, whereas some different peaks were detected on A. thaliana plants from other sites. This indicates that site-specific factors had a stronger impact on the Methylobacterium community composition than did plant-specific factors and that the Methylobacterium-plant association is not highly host plant species specific.

  2. Ecological transition in Arizona's subalpine and montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael R. White

    2000-01-01

    Important components of Southwest forest ecosystem are subalpine and montane grassland communities, Grassland communities provide habitat diversity for wildlife, forage for domestic livestock and wildlife, and contribute to the visual quality of an area. The objectives of this research were to determine if: 1) vegetation attributes and soil-surface cover variables of...

  3. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species: The roles of community attributes, Bromus interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits [Chapter 10

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; Matthew J. Germino; Jayne Belnap; Cynthia S. Brown; Eugene W. Schupp; Samuel B. St. Clair

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromus hereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in...

  4. Opposing resonses to ecological gradients structure amphibian and reptile communities across a temperate grassland-savanna-forest landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grundel, Ralph; Beamer, David; Glowacki, Gary A.; Frohnapple, Krystal; Pavlovic, Noel B.

    2014-01-01

    Temperate savannas are threatened across the globe. If we prioritize savanna restoration, we should ask how savanna animal communities differ from communities in related open habitats and forests. We documented distribution of amphibian and reptile species across an open-savanna–forest gradient in the Midwest U.S. to determine how fire history and habitat structure affected herpetofaunal community composition. The transition from open habitats to forests was a transition from higher reptile abundance to higher amphibian abundance and the intermediate savanna landscape supported the most species overall. These differences warn against assuming that amphibian and reptile communities will have similar ecological responses to habitat structure. Richness and abundance also often responded in opposite directions to some habitat characteristics, such as cover of bare ground or litter. Herpetofaunal community species composition changed along a fire gradient from infrequent and recent fires to frequent but less recent fires. Nearby (200-m) wetland cover was relatively unimportant in predicting overall herpetofaunal community composition while fire history and fire-related canopy and ground cover were more important predictors of composition, diversity, and abundance. Increased developed cover was negatively related to richness and abundance. This indicates the importance of fire history and fire related landscape characteristics, and the negative effects of development, in shaping the upland herpetofaunal community along the native grassland–forest continuum.

  5. Rhizosphere bacterial communities of dominant steppe plants shift in response to a gradient of simulated nitrogen deposition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    An eYang

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available We evaluated effects of 9-year simulation of simulated nitrogen (N deposition on microbial composition and diversity in the rhizosphere of two dominant temperate grassland species: grass Stipa krylovii and forb Artemisia frigida. Microbiomes in S. krylovii and A.frigida rhizosphere differed, but changed consistently along the N gradient. These changes were correlated to N-induced shifts to plant community. Hence, as plant biomass changed, so did bacterial rhizosphere communities, a result consistent with the role that N fertilizer has been shown to play in altering plant-microbial mutualisms. A total of 23 bacterial phyla were detected in the two rhizospheric soils by pyrosequencing, with Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria and Bacteroidetes dominating the sequences of all samples. Bacterioidetes and Proteobacteria tended to increase, while Acidobacteria declined with increase in N addition rates. TM7 increased >5-fold in the high N addition rates, especially in S. krylovii rhizosphere. Nitrogen addition also decreased diversity of OTUs (operational taxonomic units, Shannon and Chao1 indices of rhizospheric microbes regardless of plant species. These results suggest that there were both similar but also specific changes in microbial communities of temperate steppes due to N deposition.

  6. Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi mediate soil respiration response to climate change in California grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estruch, Carme; Mcfarland, Jack; Haw, Monica P.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; Pugnaire, Francisco I.; Waldrop, Mark P.

    2017-04-01

    California grasslands store ca. 100 Tg of soil organic carbon (SOC) and almost 40% of those ecosystems are prone to land use changes. The fate of these carbon pools will largely depend on how the main components of soil respiration - i.e., roots, mycorrhiza, and 'bulk soil' communities- respond to such changes. In order to determine the sensitivity to environmental drivers we set up an experiment to address the effect of plant community composition, soil age and warming on soil respiration rate during the 2014-2015 winter. We tested differences among microbial, fungal and root respiration using an exclusion technique to assess the effect of plant community (open grasslands vs oak woodland) in two field sites differing in soil properties as nutrient content, related to geologic soil age (92 and 137 kyr). We also used open top chambers (OTC) to simulate global change effects on grasslands. Our results showed that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi were the main drivers of differences recorded between soils of different age, and that those differences were linked to nutrient availability. Bulk soil respiration was more sensitive to environmental variation than mycorrhizal or root respiration, indicating that the presence of mycorrhizae and roots can regulate the capacity of CO2 emission to the atmosphere. Soil age affected CO2 flux from grasslands but not under oak canopies, likely due to the high concentration of SOM in oak canopies which moderated any affect of soil mineralogy on nutrient availability. Overall our study shows that the ability of grasslands to mitigate CO2 emissions depends on interactions between vegetation and their rhizosphere on soil microbial communities.

  7. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: biotic control, plant–soil interactions and dispersal limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Soliveres, Santiago; Valladares, Fernando; Papadopoulos, Jorge; Escudero, Adrián

    2015-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plant–soil interactions) are of major importance in understanding the role of biotic control in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about these links in the context of ecosystem restoration and succession. The assessment of the key biotic communities and interactions driving ecosystem development will help practitioners to better allocate the limited resources devoted to roadside grassland restoration. We surveyed roadside grasslands from three successional stages (0–2, 7–9 and > 20 years) in two Mediterranean regions of Spain. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate how interactions between plants, biological soil crusts [BSCs], and soil microbial functional diversity [soil microorganisms] affect indicators of ecosystem development and restoration: plant similarity to the reference ecosystem, erosion control and soil C storage and N accumulation. Changes in plant community composition along the successional gradient exerted the strongest influence on these indicators. High BSC cover was associated with high soil stability, and high soil microbial functional diversity from late-successional stages was associated with high soil fertility. Contrary to our expectations, the indirect effects of plants, mediated by either BSCs or soil microorganisms, were very weak in both regions, suggesting a minor role for plant–soil interactions upon ecosystem development indicators over long periods. Our results suggest that natural vegetation dynamics effectively improved ecosystem development within a time frame of 20 years in the grasslands evaluated. They also indicate that this time could be shortened if management actions focus on: 1) maintain well-conserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late

  8. Plant toxicity, adaptive herbivory, and plant community dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Z.; Liu, R.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Bryant, J.P.; Kielland, K.; Stuart, Chapin F.; Swihart, R.K.

    2009-01-01

    We model effects of interspecific plant competition, herbivory, and a plant's toxic defenses against herbivores on vegetation dynamics. The model predicts that, when a generalist herbivore feeds in the absence of plant toxins, adaptive foraging generally increases the probability of coexistence of plant species populations, because the herbivore switches more of its effort to whichever plant species is more common and accessible. In contrast, toxin-determined selective herbivory can drive plant succession toward dominance by the more toxic species, as previously documented in boreal forests and prairies. When the toxin concentrations in different plant species are similar, but species have different toxins with nonadditive effects, herbivores tend to diversify foraging efforts to avoid high intakes of any one toxin. This diversification leads the herbivore to focus more feeding on the less common plant species. Thus, uncommon plants may experience depensatory mortality from herbivory, reducing local species diversity. The depensatory effect of herbivory may inhibit the invasion of other plant species that are more palatable or have different toxins. These predictions were tested and confirmed in the Alaskan boreal forest. ?? 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  9. Contrasting response of coexisting plant’s water-use patterns to experimental precipitation manipulation in an alpine grassland community of Qinghai Lake watershed, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiao-Yan; He, Bin; Liu, Jinzhao; Jiang, Zhiyun; Zhang, Cicheng

    2018-01-01

    Understanding species-specific changes in water-use patterns under recent climate scenarios is necessary to predict accurately the responses of seasonally dry ecosystems to future climate. In this study, we conducted a precipitation manipulation experiment to investigate the changes in water-use patterns of two coexisting species (Achnatherum splendens and Allium tanguticum) to alterations in soil water content (SWC) resulting from increased and decreased rainfall treatments. The results showed that the leaf water potential (Ψ) of A. splendens and A. tanguticum responded to changes in shallow and middle SWC at both the control and treatment plots. However, A. splendens proportionally extracted water from the shallow soil layer (0–10cm) when it was available but shifted to absorbing deep soil water (30–60 cm) during drought. By contrast, the A. tanguticum did not differ significantly in uptake depth between treatment and control plots but entirely depended on water from shallow soil layers. The flexible water-use patterns of A.splendens may be a key factor facilitating its dominance and it better acclimates the recent climate change in the alpine grassland community around Qinghai Lake. PMID:29677195

  10. Long-term impacts of nitrogen deposition on coastal plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pakeman, Robin J.; Brooker, Rob; Alexander, Jim

    2016-01-01

    , Fixed dune, Heath, Slack and Tall grass mire communities and despite falls in EIV-N for Improved grass, Strand and Wet grassland. The increase in EIV-N was highly correlated to the cumulative deposition between the surveys, and for sites in south-east Scotland, eutrophication impacts appear severe...

  11. Greater soil carbon accumulation in deeper soils in native- than in exotic-dominated grassland plantings in the southern Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilsey, B. J.; Xu, X.; Polley, H. W.; Hofmockel, K. S.

    2017-12-01

    Global change includes invasion by non-native plant species, and invasion may affect carbon cycling and storage. We tested predictions in central Texas in an experiment that compares mixtures of all exotic or all native species under two summer irrigation treatments (128 or 0 mm) that varies the amount of summer drought stress. At the end of the eighth growing season after establishment, soils were sampled in 10 cm increments to 100 cm depth to determine if soil C differed among treatments, and if treatments differentially affected soil C in deeper soils. Soil C content was significantly (5%) higher under native plantings than under exotic species plantings (P plantings increased with depth, and native plantings had higher soil C in deeper soil layers than in surface layers (native-exotic x depth, P plantings had decreasing soil C with depth. Soil C:N ratio and δ13C/12C were also significantly affected by native-exotic status, with soils in exotic plots having a significantly greater C4 contribution than native soils. Soil C was unaffected by summer irrigation treatments. Our results suggest that a significant amount of carbon could be sequestered by replacing exotic plant species with native species in the southern Plains, and that more work should be conducted at deeper soil depths. If we had restricted our analyses to surface soil layers (e.g. top 30 cm), we would have failed to detect depth differences between natives and exotics.

  12. Responses of the functional structure of soil microbial community to livestock grazing in the Tibetan alpine grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yunfeng; Wu, Linwei; Lin, Qiaoyan; Yuan, Mengting; Xu, Depeng; Yu, Hao; Hu, Yigang; Duan, Jichuang; Li, Xiangzhen; He, Zhili; Xue, Kai; van Nostrand, Joy; Wang, Shiping; Zhou, Jizhong

    2013-02-01

    Microbes play key roles in various biogeochemical processes, including carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. However, changes of microbial community at the functional gene level by livestock grazing, which is a global land-use activity, remain unclear. Here we use a functional gene array, GeoChip 4.0, to examine the effects of free livestock grazing on the microbial community at an experimental site of Tibet, a region known to be very sensitive to anthropogenic perturbation and global warming. Our results showed that grazing changed microbial community functional structure, in addition to aboveground vegetation and soil geochemical properties. Further statistical tests showed that microbial community functional structures were closely correlated with environmental variables, and variations in microbial community functional structures were mainly controlled by aboveground vegetation, soil C/N ratio, and NH4 (+) -N. In-depth examination of N cycling genes showed that abundances of N mineralization and nitrification genes were increased at grazed sites, but denitrification and N-reduction genes were decreased, suggesting that functional potentials of relevant bioprocesses were changed. Meanwhile, abundances of genes involved in methane cycling, C fixation, and degradation were decreased, which might be caused by vegetation removal and hence decrease in litter accumulation at grazed sites. In contrast, abundances of virulence, stress, and antibiotics resistance genes were increased because of the presence of livestock. In conclusion, these results indicated that soil microbial community functional structure was very sensitive to the impact of livestock grazing and revealed microbial functional potentials in regulating soil N and C cycling, supporting the necessity to include microbial components in evaluating the consequence of land-use and/or climate changes. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  13. Satellite-based assessment of grassland yields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant, K.; Siegmund, R.; Wagner, M.; Hartmann, S.

    2015-04-01

    Cutting date and frequency are important parameters determining grassland yields in addition to the effects of weather, soil conditions, plant composition and fertilisation. Because accurate and area-wide data of grassland yields are currently not available, cutting frequency can be used to estimate yields. In this project, a method to detect cutting dates via surface changes in radar images is developed. The combination of this method with a grassland yield model will result in more reliable and regional-wide numbers of grassland yields. For the test-phase of the monitoring project, a study area situated southeast of Munich, Germany, was chosen due to its high density of managed grassland. For determining grassland cutting robust amplitude change detection techniques are used evaluating radar amplitude or backscatter statistics before and after the cutting event. CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A data were analysed. All detected cuts were verified according to in-situ measurements recorded in a GIS database. Although the SAR systems had various acquisition geometries, the amount of detected grassland cut was quite similar. Of 154 tested grassland plots, covering in total 436 ha, 116 and 111 cuts were detected using CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A radar data, respectively. Further improvement of radar data processes as well as additional analyses with higher sample number and wider land surface coverage will follow for optimisation of the method and for validation and generalisation of the results of this feasibility study. The automation of this method will than allow for an area-wide and cost efficient cutting date detection service improving grassland yield models.

  14. Niche partitioning in arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in temperate grasslands: a lesson from adjacent serpentine and nonserpentine habitats

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kohout, Petr; Doubková, Pavla; Bahram, M.; Suda, Jan; Tedersoo, L.; Voříšková, Jana; Sudová, Radka

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 24, č. 8 (2015), s. 1831-1843 ISSN 0962-1083 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 ; RVO:61388971 Keywords : arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi * community ecology * NDA barcoding Subject RIV: EF - Botanics; EE - Microbiology, Virology (MBU-M) Impact factor: 5.947, year: 2015

  15. Darwin's naturalization hypothesis up-close: Intermountain grassland invaders differ morphologically and phenologically from native community dominants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean E. Pearson; Yvette K. Ortega; Samantha J. Sears

    2012-01-01

    Darwin's naturalization hypothesis predicts that successful invaders will tend to differ taxonomically from native species in recipient communities because less related species exhibit lower niche overlap and experience reduced biotic resistance. This hypothesis has garnered substantial support at coarse scales. However, at finer scales, the influence of traits...

  16. Mutual replacement of species in space in a grassland community: is there an evidence for functional complementarity of replacement groups?

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Herben, Tomáš; Březina, Stanislav; Hadincová, Věroslava; Krahulec, František; Skálová, Hana

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 122, č. 1 (2013), s. 111-121 ISSN 0030-1299 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/1471 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : community dynamics * biomass * removal experiments Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.559, year: 2013

  17. Herbivory and dominance shifts among exotic and congeneric native plant species during plant community establishment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Engelkes, Tim; Meisner, Annelein; Morriën, Elly

    2016-01-01

    in a riparian ecosystem during early establishment of invaded communities. We planted ten plant communities each consisting of three individuals of each of six exotic plant species as well as six phylogenetically related natives. Exotic plant species were selected based on a rapid recent increase in regional...... abundance, the presence of a congeneric native species, and their co-occurrence in the riparian ecosystem. All plant communities were covered by tents with insect mesh. Five tents were open on the leeward side to allow herbivory. The other five tents were completely closed in order to exclude insects...... and vertebrates. Herbivory reduced aboveground biomass by half and influenced which of the plant species dominated the establishing communities. Exposure to herbivory did not reduce the total biomass of natives more than that of exotics, so aboveground herbivory did not selectively enhance exotics during...

  18. Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, K W; Svejcar, T J; Bates, J D

    2009-09-01

    Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of historical disturbance patterns under modern conditions and the interactions among disturbances are issues that ecologists must address to protect and restore native plant communities. We evaluated the response of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh plant communities to their historical disturbance regime compared to other disturbance regimes. The historical disturbance regime of these plant communities was periodic fires with minimal grazing by large herbivores. We also investigated the influence of prior disturbance (grazing) on the response of these communities to subsequent disturbance (burning). Treatments were: (1) ungrazed (livestock grazing excluded since 1936) and unburned, (2) grazed and unburned, (3) ungrazed and burned (burned in 1993), and (4) grazed and burned. The ungrazed-burned treatment emulated the historical disturbance regime. Vegetation cover, density, and biomass production were measured the 12th, 13th, and 14th year post-burning. Prior to burning the presence of Bromus tectorum L., an exotic annual grass, was minimal (resilience to more severe disturbances. Modern deviations from historical conditions can alter ecosystem response to disturbances, thus restoring the historical disturbance regime may not be an appropriate strategy for all ecosystems.

  19. (134)Cs and ¹³⁷Cs levels in a grassland, 32 km northwest of the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, measured for two seasons after the fallout.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terashima, Ichiro; Shiyomi, Masae; Fukuda, Hiroo

    2014-01-01

    We measured the levels of radioactive caesium (RACs; ¹³⁴Cs and ¹³⁷Cs) in plants and soil in a grassland, 32 km northwest of the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, from June 2011 to October 2012. In 2011, the highest RACs levels (¹³⁴Cs + ¹³⁷Cs) in plants and in the 0-5 cm soil layer were approximately 80 kBq per kg dry weight (DW). Forage grasses and clovers in this grassland showed similar RACs levels. On a DW basis, the levels of RACs in these plants tended to increase with increasing biomass over both years, but the absolute levels decreased in 2012. The RACs levels in the soil decreased sharply with soil depth; the RACs level in the 5-10 cm soil layer was only 3 % of that in the 0-5 cm layer. The transfer factor (ratio of radioactivity in plant parts on DW basis to that in the 0-10 cm soil layer) was 0.5 and 1.0 for the aboveground and belowground plant parts, respectively, in 2011, and these values decreased by approximately 50 % in 2012. We discuss the possible mechanisms underlying these trends, and strategies to decrease the level of RACs in plants to the permissible level for forage.

  20. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  1. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haifa Debouk

    Full Text Available Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland. The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short

  2. Measuring competition in plant communities where it is difficult to distinguish individual plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Damgaard, Christian

    2011-01-01

    A novel method for measuring plant-plant interactions in undisturbed semi-natural and natural plant communities where it is difficult to distinguish individual plants is discussed. It is assumed that the ecological success of the different plant species in the plant community may be adequately...... measured by plant cover and vertical density (a measure that is correlated to the 3-dimensional space occupancy and biomass). Both plant cover and vertical density are measured in a standard pin-point analysis in the beginning and at the end of the growing season. In the outlined competition model....... The method allows direct measurements of the competitive effects of neighbouringzplants on plant performance and the estimation of parameters that describe the ecological processes of plantplant interactions during the growing season as well as the process of survival and recruitment between growing seasons...

  3. Evapotranspiration in three plant communities of a Rhigozum ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Evapotranspiration losses in three Rhigozum trichotomum plant communities namely, pure grass, pure R. trichotomum and a mixed stand of grass and R. trichotomum were determined during the 1985-86 growing season. Three hydrologically isolated plots in each community type were irrigated and changes in soil water ...

  4. Vertebrate herbivores influence soil nematodes by modifying plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, G. F. (Ciska); Olff, Han; Duyts, Henk; van der Putten, Wim H.

    Abiotic soil properties, plant community composition, and herbivory all have been reported as important factors influencing the composition of soil communities. However, most studies thus far have considered these factors in isolation, whereas they strongly interact in the field. Here, we study how

  5. Response of native insect communities to invasive plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bezemer, T Martijn; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Cronin, James T

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants can disrupt a range of trophic interactions in native communities. As a novel resource they can affect the performance of native insect herbivores and their natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators, and this can lead to host shifts of these herbivores and natural enemies. Through the release of volatile compounds, and by changing the chemical complexity of the habitat, invasive plants can also affect the behavior of native insects such as herbivores, parasitoids, and pollinators. Studies that compare insects on related native and invasive plants in invaded habitats show that the abundance of insect herbivores is often lower on invasive plants, but that damage levels are similar. The impact of invasive plants on the population dynamics of resident insect species has been rarely examined, but invasive plants can influence the spatial and temporal dynamics of native insect (meta)populations and communities, ultimately leading to changes at the landscape level.

  6. Effect of four plant species on soil 15N-access and herbage yield in temporary agricultural grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pirhofter-Walzl, Karin; Eriksen, Jørgen; Rasmussen, Jim

    2013-01-01

    access to greater amounts of soil 15N compared with a shallow-rooting binary mixture, and if leguminous plants affect herbage yield and soil 15N-access. Methods 15N-enriched ammonium-sulphate was placed at three different soil depths (0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 m) to determine the depth dependent soil 15N....... This positive plant diversity effect could not be explained by complementary soil 15N-access of the different plant species from 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 m soil depths, even though deep-rooting chicory acquired relatively large amounts of deep soil 15N and shallow-rooting perennial ryegrass when grown in a mixture...

  7. Relative Importance of Current and Past Landscape Structure and Local Habitat Conditions for Plant Species Richness in Dry Grassland-Like Forest Openings

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Husáková, I.; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 9, č. 5 (2014), s. 1-15 E-ISSN 1932-6203 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : landscape structure * species richness * dry grassland Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.234, year: 2014

  8. Competitive interactions between a nonmycorrhizal invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata, and a suite of mycorrhizal grassland, old field, and forest species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poon, Gary T; Maherali, Hafiz

    2015-01-01

    The widespread invasion of the nonmycorrhizal biennial plant, Alliaria petiolata in North America is hypothesized to be facilitated by the production of novel biochemical weapons that suppress the growth of mycorrhizal fungi. As a result, A. petiolata is expected to be a strong competitor against plant species that rely on mycorrhizal fungi for nutrient uptake services. If A. petiolata is also a strong competitor for soil resources, it should deplete nutrients to levels lower than can be tolerated by weaker competitors. Because the negative effect of losing the fungal symbiont for mycorrhizal plants is greatest when nutrients are low, the ability of A. petiolata to simultaneously suppress fungi and efficiently take up soil nutrients should further strengthen its competitive ability against mycorrhizal plants. To test this hypothesis, we grew 27 mycorrhizal tree, forb and grass species that are representative of invaded habitats in the absence or presence of competition with A. petiolata in soils that had previously been experimentally planted with the invader or left as a control. A history of A. petiolata in soil reduced plant available forms of nitrogen by >50% and phosphorus by 17% relative to control soil. Average mycorrhizal colonization of competitor species was reduced by >50% in A. petiolata history versus control soil. Contrary to expectations, competition between A. petiolata and other species was stronger in control than history soil. The invader suppressed the biomass of 70% of competitor species in control soil but only 26% of species in history soil. In addition, A. petiolata biomass was reduced by 56% in history versus control soil, whereas the average biomass of competitor species was reduced by 15%. Thus, our results suggest that the negative effect of nutrient depletion on A. petiolata was stronger than the negative effect of suppressing mycorrhizal colonization on competitor species. These findings indicate that the inhibitory potential of A

  9. Relative importance of current and past landscape structure and local habitat conditions for plant species richness in dry grassland-like forest openings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Husáková, Iveta; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2014-01-01

    In fragmented landscapes, plant species richness may depend not only on local habitat conditions but also on landscape structure. In addition, both present and past landscape structure may be important for species richness. There are, however, only a few studies that have investigated the relative importance of all of these factors. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of current and past landscape structures and habitat conditions on species richness at dry grassland-like forest openings in a forested landscape and to assess their relative importance for species richness. We analyzed information on past and present landscape structures using aerial photographs from 1938, 1973, 1988, 2000 and 2007. We calculated the area of each locality and its isolation in the present and in the past and the continuity of localities in GIS. At each locality, we recorded all vascular plant species (296 species in 110 forest openings) and information on abiotic conditions of the localities. We found that the current species richness of the forest openings was significantly determined by local habitat conditions as well as by landscape structure in the present and in the past. The highest species richness was observed on larger and more heterogeneous localities with rocks and shallow soils, which were already large and well connected to other localities in 1938. The changes in the landscape structure in the past can thus have strong effects on current species richness. Future studies attempting to understand determinants of species diversity in fragmented landscapes should also include data on past landscape structure, as it may in fact be more important than the present structure.

  10. Effects Of Elevated Ozone On Leaf {delta} {sup 13} C And Leaf Conductance Of Plant Species Grown In Semi-Natural Grassland With Or Without Irrigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jaeggi, M.; Saurer, M.; Volk, M. [Agroscope-FAL (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope-FAL (Switzerland)

    2005-03-01

    At the Swiss prealpine site Le Mouret (754 m a.s.l. 46deg 45min N / 7deg 10min E), semi-natural grassland species were kept under ambient or elevated ozone, paired with or without additional irrigation. Two of the four investigated grassland species showed an additive increase in {sup 13}C-values under drought and elevated ozone conditions. (author)

  11. Conservation and restoration of indigenous plants to improve community livelihoods: the Useful Plants Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulian, Tiziana; Sacandé, Moctar; Mattana, Efisio

    2014-05-01

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership (MSBP) is one of the largest ex situ plant conservation initiatives, which is focused on saving plants in and from regions most at risk, particularly in drylands. Seeds are collected and stored in seed banks in the country of origin and duplicated in the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK. The MSBP also strengthens the capacity of local communities to successfully conserve and sustainably use indigenous plants, which are important for their wellbeing. Since 2007, high quality seed collections and research information have been gathered on ca. 700 useful indigenous plant species that were selected by communities in Botswana, Kenya, Mali, Mexico and South Africa through Project MGU - The Useful Plants Project. These communities range from various farmer's groups and organisations to traditional healers, organic cotton/crop producers and primary schools. The information on seed conservation and plant propagation was used to train communities and to propagate ca. 200 species that were then planted in local gardens, and as species reintroduced for reforestation programmes and enriching village forests. Experimental plots have also been established to further investigate the field performance (plant survival and growth rate) of indigenous species, using low cost procedures. In addition, the activities support revenue generation for local communities directly through the sustainable use of plant products or indirectly through wider environmental and cultural services. This project has confirmed the potential of biodiversity conservation to improve food security and human health, enhance community livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of land and people to the changing climate. This approach of using indigenous species and having local communities play a central role from the selection of species to their planting and establishment, supported by complementary research, may represent a model for other regions of the world, where

  12. Description and identification of four species of plant parasitic nematodes associated with grassland, fruit trees and maize in Romania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Badi, M; Geraert, E

    2002-01-01

    Three species of plant parasitic nematodes present in two romanian soil samples were described and identified in the present study. The species belong to order tylenchida and to taxonomical families Tylenchidae (Basiria aberrans) and Belonolaimidae (Tylenchorhynchus georgiensis and Merlinius brevidens). The identification of the present specimens was based on the classical taxonomy, following morphological and morphometrical characters in the species specific identification keys.

  13. Life-history constraints in grassland plant species: a growth-defence trade-off is the norm

    Science.gov (United States)

    E.M. Lind; E.T. Borer; E.W. Seabloom; P.B. Adler; J.D. Bakker; D.M. Blumenthal; M. Crawley; K.F. Davies; J. Firn; D.S. Gruner; S. Harpole; Y. Hautier; H. Hillebrand; J.M.H. Knops; B.A. Melbourne; B. Mortensen; A.C. Risch; M. Schuetz; C.J. Stevens; P.D. Wragg

    2013-01-01

    Plant growth can be limited by resource acquisition and defence against consumers, leading to contrasting trade-off possibilities. The competition-defence hypothesis posits a trade-off between competitive ability and defence against enemies (e.g. herbivores and pathogens). The growth-defence hypothesis suggests that strong competitors for nutrients are also defended...

  14. Positive plant diversity-soil stability relationships are mediated through roots in the Songnen Grassland: Chronosequence evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang-Jun Hu; Ping Li; Qinfeng Guo

    2013-01-01

    Living plant diversity (excluding the litter issue) may affect below-ground properties and processes, which is critical to obtaining an integrated biodiversity-ecosystem functioning theory. However, related patterns and underlying mechanisms have rarely been examined, especially lacking long-term evidence. We conducted a factorial crossed sample survey to examine the...

  15. Plant community mediation of ecosystem responses to global change factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Churchill, A. C.

    2017-12-01

    Human alteration of the numerous environmental drivers affecting ecosystem processes is unprecedented in the last century, including changes in climate regimes and rapid increases in the availability of biologically active nitrogen (N). Plant communities may offer stabilizing or amplifying feedbacks mediating potential ecosystem responses to these alterations, and my research seeks to examine the conditions associated with when plant feedbacks are important for ecosystem change. My dissertation research focused on the unintended consequences of N deposition into natural landscapes, including alpine ecosystems which are particularly susceptible to adverse environmental impacts. In particular, I examined alpine plant and soil responses to N deposition 1) across multiple spatial scales throughout the Southern Rocky Mountains, 2) among diverse plant communities associated with unique environmental conditions common in the alpine of this region, and 3) among ecosystem pools of N contributing to stabilization of N inputs within those communities. I found that communities responded to inputs of N differently, often associated with traits of dominant plant species but these responses were intimately linked with the abiotic conditions of each independent community. Even so, statistical models predicting metrics of N processing in the alpine were improved by encompassing both abiotic and biotic components of the main community types.

  16. Water- and plant-mediated responses of ecosystem carbon fluxes to warming and nitrogen addition on the Songnen grassland in northeast China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Li Jiang

    Full Text Available Understanding how grasslands are affected by a long-term increase in temperature is crucial to predict the future impact of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Additionally, it is not clear how the effects of global warming on grassland productivity are going to be altered by increased N deposition and N addition.In-situ canopy CO(2 exchange rates were measured in a meadow steppe subjected to 4-year warming and nitrogen addition treatments. Warming treatment reduced net ecosystem CO(2 exchange (NEE and increased ecosystem respiration (ER; but had no significant impacts on gross ecosystem productivity (GEP. N addition increased NEE, ER and GEP. However, there were no significant interactions between N addition and warming. The variation of NEE during the four experimental years was correlated with soil water content, particularly during early spring, suggesting that water availability is a primary driver of carbon fluxes in the studied semi-arid grassland.Ecosystem carbon fluxes in grassland ecosystems are sensitive to warming and N addition. In the studied water-limited grassland, both warming and N addition influence ecosystem carbon fluxes by affecting water availability, which is the primary driver in many arid and semiarid ecosystems. It remains unknown to what extent the long-term N addition would affect the turn-over of soil organic matter and the C sink size of this grassland.

  17. Species diversity of plant communities from territories with natural origin radionuclides contamination

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kaneva, A.V.; Belykh, E.S.; Maystrenko, T.A.; Grusdev, B.I.; Zainullin, V.G.; Vakhrusheva, O.M. [Institute of Biology, Komi Scientific Center, Ural Division of RAS, Syktyvkar, 167982 (Russian Federation); Oughton, D. [Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Aas (Norway)

    2014-07-01

    Since plants dominate every landscape, the impact of any environmental stressor on plants can directly affect the structure and function of an ecosystem, resulting in decreased primary productivity and degradation of wildlife habitat. The investigation goal of the present research was to study how vascular plant species' composition at a former radium mining site could be related to i) soil contamination with heavy metals and uranium and thorium decay chain radionuclides and ii) soil agrochemical properties. Between the 1930's and 1950's, the commercial extraction of radium, storage of the uranium mill tailings and radium production wastes, together with deactivation of the site with a mixture of sand and gravel completely destroyed plant communities in the vicinity of Vodny settlement (Komi Republic, Russia). The plant cover recovery started more than 60 years ago, and resulted in overgrowing with common grassland plant species. Three meadow sites were investigated, one with low contamination (on the territory of former radium production plant), one with high contamination (waste storage cell) and a reference sites out of the radiochemical plant zone of influence, but with similar natural conditions. Geo-botanical descriptions revealed 134 vascular plant species from 34 families in the meadow communities studied. The greatest richness was seen for Poaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae and Fabaceae families; others had 1-5 species. The highest richness in diversity was seen at reference sites with 95 vascular plant species. 87 species were registered on low contaminated sites and 75 species on high contaminated. Perennial herbs were the dominant life form on all the studied meadow communities. Arboreal species expansion in vegetation was noted at both experimental and reference sites. Shannon index calculations indicated a significant (p<0.05) decrease in species diversity on sample areas of the highly contaminated radioactive waste storage cell. Mean values

  18. Priming of soil carbon decomposition in two inner Mongolia grassland soils following sheep dung addition: A study using13C natural abundance approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ma, Xiuzhi; Ambus, Per; Wang, Shiping

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content) and a heav......To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content......) and a heavily degraded Artemisia frigida dominated community (1.3% organic matter content). Dung was collected from sheep either fed on L. chinensis (C3 plant with δ13C = -26.8‰; dung δ13C = -26.2‰) or Cleistogenes squarrosa (C4 plant with δ13C = -14.6‰; dung δ13C = -15.7‰). Fresh C3 and C4 sheep dung was mixed......-amended controls. In both grassland soils, ca. 60% of the evolved CO2 originated from the decomposing sheep dung and 40% from the native soil C. Priming effects of soil C decomposition were observed in both soils, i.e. 1.4 g and 1.6 g additional soil C kg-1 dry soil had been emitted as CO2 for the L. chinensis...

  19. Rural and school community in appreciating knowledge on medical plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcílio Souza Carneiro

    2016-05-01

    Isolated communities in the urban environment still use medicinal plants, but such knowledge is not always passed on to new generations. In this scenario, we propose a study with students, teachers, and community residents from Córrego da Ema, Amontada, Ceará, Brazil, aiming to know the wisdom of medicinal plants in a small rural community in the Brazilian semi-arid region. We interviewed the medicinal plant connoisseurs, named as local experts, by using the “snow ball” method. We applied questionnaires to investigate Elementary School students’ knowledge on medicinal plants (pre-tour. These actions provided a basis for planning guided-tours, activities aimed at 51 students, which we carried out along with the 10 experts and 2 local school teachers, whose results (post-tour were assessed by using the same pre-tour questionnaire. Most local experts were women (80%, their families had many people and low education level, factors that contribute to using medicinal plants. Experts cited 35 medicinal plant species. Students cited 24 pre-tour plant species and 28 post-tour plant species. Students increased their knowledge, as there was also a post-tour increase in therapeutic indications and preparation methods, as mentioned. The school played an important role in appreciating this intangible heritage, because it enabled actions involving formal and informal education.

  20. Rural and school community in appreciating knowledge on medical plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcílio Souza Carneiro

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Isolated communities in the urban environment still use medicinal plants, but such knowledge is not always passed on to new generations. In this scenario, we propose a study with students, teachers, and community residents from Córrego da Ema, Amontada, Ceará, Brazil, aiming to know the wisdom of medicinal plants in a small rural community in the Brazilian semi-arid region. We interviewed the medicinal plant connoisseurs, named as local experts, by using the “snow ball” method. We applied questionnaires to investigate Elementary School students’ knowledge on medicinal plants (pre-tour. These actions provided a basis for planning guided-tours, activities aimed at 51 students, which we carried out along with the 10 experts and 2 local school teachers, whose results (post-tour were assessed by using the same pre-tour questionnaire. Most local experts were women (80%, their families had many people and low education level, factors that contribute to using medicinal plants. Experts cited 35 medicinal plant species. Students cited 24 pre-tour plant species and 28 post-tour plant species. Students increased their knowledge, as there was also a post-tour increase in therapeutic indications and preparation methods, as mentioned. The school played an important role in appreciating this intangible heritage, because it enabled actions involving formal and informal education.

  1. Genetic diversity within a dominant plant outweighs plant species diversity in structuring an arthropod community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crawford, Kerri M; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2013-05-01

    Plant biodiversity is being lost at a rapid rate. This has spurred much interest in elucidating the consequences of this loss for higher trophic levels. Experimental tests have shown that both plant species diversity and genetic diversity within a plant species can influence arthropod community structure. However, the majority of these studies have been conducted in separate systems, so their relative importance is currently unresolved. Furthermore, potential interactions between the two levels of diversity, which likely occur in natural systems, have not been investigated. To clarify these issues, we conducted three experiments in a freshwater sand dune ecosystem. We (1) independently manipulated plant species diversity, (2) independently manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, and (3) jointly manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant and species diversity. We found that genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, more strongly influenced arthropod communities than plant species diversity, but this effect was dependent on the presence of other species. In species mixtures, A. breviligulata genetic diversity altered overall arthropod community composition, and arthropod richness and abundance peaked at the highest level of genetic diversity. Positive nonadditive effects of diversity were detected, suggesting that arthropods respond to emergent properties of diverse plant communities. However, in the independent manipulations where A. breviligulata was alone, effects of genetic diversity were weaker, with only arthropod richness responding. In contrast, plant species diversity only influenced arthropods when A. breviligulata was absent, and then only influenced herbivore abundance. In addition to showing that genetic diversity within a dominant plant species can have large effects on arthropod community composition, these results suggest that understanding how species

  2. Plant reproduction is altered by simulated herbicide drift to constructed plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herbicide drift may have unintended impacts on native vegetation, adversely affecting structure and function of plant communities. However, these potential effects have been rarely studied or quantified. To determine potential ecological effects of herbicide drift, we construct...

  3. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jens L. Hollberg

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring the reaction of grassland canopies on fertilizer application is of major importance to enable a well-adjusted management supporting a sustainable production of the grass crop. Up to date, grassland managers estimate the nutrient status and growth dynamics of grasslands by costly and time-consuming field surveys, which only provide low temporal and spatial data density. Grassland mapping using remotely-sensed Vegetation Indices (VIs has the potential to contribute to solving these problems. In this study, we explored the potential of VIs for distinguishing five differently-fertilized grassland communities. Therefore, we collected spectral signatures of these communities in a long-term fertilization experiment (since 1941 in Germany throughout the growing seasons 2012–2014. Fifteen VIs were calculated and their seasonal developments investigated. Welch tests revealed that the accuracy of VIs for distinguishing these grassland communities varies throughout the growing season. Thus, the selection of the most promising single VI for grassland mapping was dependent on the date of the spectra acquisition. A random forests classification using all calculated VIs reduced variations in classification accuracy within the growing season and provided a higher overall precision of classification. Thus, we recommend a careful selection of VIs for grassland mapping or the utilization of temporally-stable methods, i.e., including a set of VIs in the random forests algorithm.

  4. Decomposition of standing litter in arid grasslands: Interactions between sunlight, non-rainfall moisture, microbes, and plant traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Logan, J. R. V.; Jacobson, P. J.; Jacobson, K. M.; Evans, S.

    2017-12-01

    Although arid lands make up 40% of the Earth's land surface, we still lack a strong understanding of carbon cycling and plant decomposition in these systems. One reason for this is that field studies typically only focus on decomposition at or below the ground surface even though standing dead litter (material that has not yet fallen to the ground) accounts for more than 50% of total necromass in many of these systems. While recent work has begun to recognize the important and unique aspects of standing litter decomposition, few studies have investigated specific mechanisms controlling rates of mass loss. We hypothesized that initial photodegradation of the outer plant cuticle of standing litter is an important determinant of litter decomposition because this process increases moisture absorption and subsequent opportunities for biological decomposition. Our preliminary results offer support for this hypothesis. We found that standing grass stems with their cuticles artificially removed had greater water absorbance and more than 400% greater mass loss over a 6-month period relative to controls with intact cuticles. Additionally, spectroscopic measurements of cuticle integrity showed damage to the litter surface after a period of extended photodegradation, allowing increased moisture uptake during simulated fog/dew events. These findings are especially important in the context of recent work by us and others showing that non-rainfall moisture (fog, dew, and water vapor) plays a much larger role in arid land decomposition than previously thought. Improving our understanding of the mechanisms driving decomposition of standing litter will enable us to develop a more predictive understanding of carbon storage in arid lands.

  5. Seasonal Variation in Soil Microbial Biomass, Bacterial Community Composition and Extracellular Enzyme Activity in Relation to Soil Respiration in a Northern Great Plains Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilton, E.; Flanagan, L. B.

    2014-12-01

    Soil respiration rate is affected by seasonal changes in temperature and moisture, but is this a direct effect on soil metabolism or an indirect effect caused by changes in microbial biomass, bacterial community composition and substrate availability? In order to address this question, we compared continuous measurements of soil and plant CO2 exchange made with an automatic chamber system to analyses conducted on replicate soil samples collected on four dates during June-August. Microbial biomass was estimated from substrate-induced respiration rate, bacterial community composition was determined by 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, and β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGase) and phenol oxidase enzyme activities were assayed fluorometrically or by absorbance measurements, respectively. Soil microbial biomass declined from June to August in strong correlation with a progressive decline in soil moisture during this time period. Soil bacterial species richness and alpha diversity showed no significant seasonal change. However, bacterial community composition showed a progressive shift over time as measured by Bray-Curtis dissimilarity. In particular, the change in community composition was associated with increasing relative abundance in the alpha and delta classes, and declining abundance of the beta and gamma classes of the Proteobacteria phylum during June-August. NAGase showed a progressive seasonal decline in potential activity that was correlated with microbial biomass and seasonal changes in soil moisture. In contrast, phenol oxidase showed highest potential activity in mid-July near the time of peak soil respiration and ecosystem photosynthesis, which may represent a time of high input of carbon exudates into the soil from plant roots. This input of exudates may stimulate the activity of phenol oxidase, a lignolytic enzyme involved in the breakdown of soil organic matter. These analyses indicated that seasonal change in soil respiration is a complex

  6. Soil acidification and liming in grassland production and grassland soil fertility in Slovenia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jure ČOP

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available This paper reviews the evidences on grassland soil acidity and liming in relation to soil processes and herbage production. There is also an outline of the present state of soil acidity and acidity-related traits – contents of organic matter (OM, phosphorus (P and potassium (K in Slovene grassland. In grassland, soil acidification is an ongoing process under humid climate conditions. It is mainly driven by leaching of nutrients, net loss of cations due to retention in livestock products, use of physiologically acid fertilizers, acid rain and N2 fixation. This process is reduced by strong pH buffering capacity of the soil and by physiologically basic fertilizers. Acid grassland soils in Slovenia are widely distributed in spite of the fact that 44% of the total land has developed from a carbonate parent material. Of the 1713 grassland soil samples analysed during 2005-2007 45% were regarded as acid ones (pH < 5.5; in KCl, 57% as soils with very low P status (˂ 6 mg P2O5/100 g soil and 22% as soils with very low K status (˂ 10 mg K2O/100 soil. Increased content of soil organic matter was identified for alpine pastures (˃ 10 % OM in 44% of samples, mainly as a result of low decomposition rate. Liming of acid grassland soils did not always reflect in a higher herbage yield. The cause for this inefficiency is plant composition of grassland. Thus, many grassland plants with relatively high production potential have adapted to acid soil conditions. To illustrate the inconsistent liming effect three researches are reviewed. In the first two researches liming along with fertilizer application did not increase the yield comparing to the fertilized control while in the third research the increase amounted 26 %. Liming improves considerably botanical composition of the acid grassland (e.g. sward where Common Bent – Agrostis tenuis Sibth. – prevails and thus indirectly affects palatability and nutritive value of herbage. Grassland liming has a weak

  7. Management of plant communities on set-aside land and its effects on earthworm communities

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Gormsen, D.; Hedlund, K.; Korthals, G. W.; Mortimer, S. R.; Pižl, Václav; Šmilauerová, M.; Sugg, E.

    2004-01-01

    Roč. 40, 3-4 (2004), s. 123-128 ISSN 1164-5563 Grant - others:Evropská unie(XE) ENV4-CT95-0002 Keywords : earthworm community * plant community * land use Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 0.776, year: 2004

  8. [Research progress and trend on grassland agroecology].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Jizhou; Li, Xianglin; Hou, Fujiang

    2002-08-01

    The connotation, progress, research frontiers and developmental trend of grassland agroecology are discussed in this paper. The interface theory, structure and function, coupling and discordance, and health assessment of grassland agroecosystems were recognized as the four research frontiers of the discipline. There exist three primary interfaces in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., vegetation-site, grassland-animal and production-management. Research into a series of the ecological processes that occurred at these interfaces is the key to revealing the features of the system behavior. There are four sections in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., pre-plant, plant, animal and post-biotic sections. System coupling and discordance are the two important concepts to describe interactions among the production sections. System coupling among the sections can lead to system improvement by exerting the potential of system capacity. Health of an ecosystem is a reflection of its structure and function, and health assessment is a measurement of its orderliness and service value.

  9. Dry flue gas desulfurization by-product application effects on plant uptake and soil storage changes in a managed grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burgess-Conforti, Jason R; Brye, Kristofor R; Miller, David M; Pollock, Erik D; Wood, Lisa S

    2018-02-01

    Environmental regulations mandate that sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) be removed from the flue gases of coal-fired power plants, which results in the generation of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) by-products. These FGD by-products may be a viable soil amendment, but the large amounts of trace elements contained in FGD by-products are potentially concerning. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of land application of a high-Ca dry FGD (DFGD) by-product on trace elements in aboveground biomass and soil. A high-Ca DFGD by-product was applied once at a rate of 9 Mg ha -1 on May 18, 2015 to small plots with mixed-grass vegetation. Soil and biomass were sampled prior to application and several times thereafter. Aboveground dry matter and tissue As, Co, Cr, Hg, Se, U, and V concentrations increased (P  0.05) from pre-application levels or the unamended control within 3 to 6 months of application. Soil pH in the amended treatment 6 months after application was greater (P by-product application compared to the unamended control. High-Ca DFGD by-products appear to be useful as a soil amendment, but cause at least a temporary increase in tissue concentrations of trace elements, which may be problematic for animal grazing situations.

  10. Negative Plant-Soil Feedback and Positive Species Interaction in a Herbaceous Plant Community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bonanomi, G.; Rietkerk, M.; Dekker, S.C.; Mazzoleni, S.

    2005-01-01

    Increasing evidence shows that facilitative interaction and negative plant¿soil feedback are driving factors of plant population dynamics and community processes. We studied the intensity and the relative impact of negative feedback on clonal growth and seed germination of Scirpus holoschoenus, a

  11. Effects of Plant Functional Group Loss on Soil Microbial Community and Litter Decomposition in a Steppe Vegetation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Chunwang; Zhou, Yong; Su, Jiaqi; Yang, Fan

    2017-01-01

    Globally, many terrestrial ecosystems are experiencing a rapid loss of biodiversity. Continued improvements in our understanding of interrelationships between plant diversity and soil microbes are critical to address the concern over the consequences of the decline in biodiversity on ecosystem functioning and services. By removing forbs, or grasses, or, to an extreme scenario, both forbs and grasses in a steppe vegetation in Inner Mongolia, we studied how plant functional group (PFG) loss affects soil microbial community composition using phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) and litter decomposition using a litter-bag method. PFG loss significantly decreased above- and below-ground plant biomass, soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) and nitrogen (SMBN), but had no effect on the ratio of SMBC to SMBN. Although the ratio of fungal to bacterial PLFAs remained unaffected, PFG loss significantly reduced the amount of bacterial, fungal, and total PLFAs. PFG loss decreased litter monthly mass loss and decay constant, and such decrease was significant when both forbs and grasses were removed. Our results provide robust evidence that PFG loss in grassland ecosystem can lead to a rapid response of soil microbial activity which may affect litter decomposition and soil nutrient cycling, suggesting that the assessment of plant-microbe interactions in soils is an integral component of ecosystem response to biodiversity loss.

  12. Assessing social vulnerability to climate change in human communities near public forests and grasslands: a framework for resource managers and planners

    Science.gov (United States)

    A. Paige Fischer; Travis Paveglio; Matthew Carroll; Daniel Murphy; Hannah Brenkert-Smith

    2013-01-01

    Public land management agencies have incorporated the concept of vulnerability into protocols for assessing and planning for climate change impacts on public forests and grasslands. However, resource managers and planners have little guidance for how to address the social aspects of vulnerability in these assessments and plans. Failure to assess social vulnerability to...

  13. Plant Communities Suitable for Green Roofs in Arid Regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel Gioannini

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available In extensive green roof settings, plant communities can be more robust than monocultures. In addition, native plants might be hardier and more ecologically sound choices than non-native plants in green roof systems. The objectives of this research were to (1 compare the performance of plant communities with that of monocultures and (2 compare the growth of natives to non-natives in a simulated green roof setting. We conducted a two-year experiment at an outdoor site in a desert environment using four plant morphological types (groundcover, forb, succulent and grass. Native plants selected were Chrysactinia mexicana, Melampodium leucanthum, Euphorbia antisyphilitica, and Nassella tenuissima, and non-natives were Delosperma nubigenum, Stachys byzantina, Sedum kamtschiaticum and Festuca glauca. Plants were assigned randomly to either monoculture or community and grown in 1 m × 1 m custom-built trays filled with 15 cm of a proprietary blend of 50/20/30 lightweight aggregate/sand/compost (by volume. Native forb, Melampodium, in community had greater coverage for four of the five measurements in the first year over native forb in monoculture and non-native forb regardless of setting. Native forb coverage was also greater than non-native forb for three of the four measurements in year 2, regardless of setting. Coverage of native grass was significantly greater than non-native grasses throughout the experiment. Coverage was also greater for eight of nine measurements for native succulent over non-natives succulent. However, non-native groundcover coverage was significantly greater than native groundcover for seven of nine measurements. On 1 November 2016, relative water content (RWC for succulents (p = 0.0424 was greatest for native Euphorbia in monoculture at 88%. Native Euphorbia also had greater RWC than non-native Sedum on 4 April 2017 (78% and 4 July 2017 (80%. However, non-native Sedum had greater root length (6548 cm, root dry weight (12.1 g

  14. Plant Community Diversity After Herbicide Control of Spotted Knapweed

    OpenAIRE

    United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

    1992-01-01

    Herbicides were applied to four west-central Montana sites with light to moderate spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.) infestations. Althought knapweed suppression was high, 2 years after the spraying the communities were not converted to grass monocultures. No large declines in plant diversity were caused by the herbicides, and small depressions were probably transitory. By the third year, diversity had increased.

  15. Vascular plant diversity and community Structure of nandi forests ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abundance data of species was used for species diversity, similarity, species richness estimation and plant community analysis. PC-ORD, CANOCO and EstimateS were used to analyze the data. A total of 321 species ... Keywords: floristic composition, ordination, rarefaction, species accumulation, species richness.

  16. Functional diversity in plant communities: Theory and analysis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Plant functional diversity in community has become a key point in ecology studies recently. The development of species functional diversity was reviewed in the present work. Based on the former original research papers and reviews, we discussed the concept and connotation and put forward a new definition of functional ...

  17. A baseline classification of riparian woodland plant communities in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The plots were placed along a gradient from the main water body to the drier fringe of the riparian zone. Plant species present in each plot were recorded with their estimated percentage cover using the Braun–Blanquet cover abundance scale. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to determine vegetation communities.

  18. Plant community development is affected by nutrients and soil biota

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Deyn, G.B.; Raaijmakers, C.E.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2004-01-01

    1 Plant community development depends to a great extent on the availability of soil nutrients, but recent studies underline the role of symbiotic, herbivorous and pathogenic soil biota. We tested for interactions between these biotic and abiotic factors by studying the effects of additional

  19. Andean shrublands of Moquegua, South Peru: Prepuna plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Montesinos, D.B.; Cleef, A.M.; Sykora, K.V.

    2012-01-01

    A syntaxonomic overview of shrubland vegetation in the southern Andean regions of Peru is presented. For each plant community, information is given on physiognomy, floristic diversity, ecology and geographical distribution. The shrub vegetation on the slopes of the upper Tambo river valley includes

  20. Seeding method influences warm-season grass abundance and distribution but not local diversity in grassland restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yurkonis, Kathryn A.; Wilsey, Brian J.; Moloney, Kirk A.; Drobney, Pauline; Larson, Diane L.

    2010-01-01

    Ecological theory predicts that the arrangement of seedlings in newly restored communities may influence future species diversity and composition. We test the prediction that smaller distances between neighboring seeds in drill seeded grassland plantings would result in lower species diversity, greater weed abundance, and larger conspecific patch sizes than otherwise similar broadcast seeded plantings. A diverse grassland seed mix was either drill seeded, which places seeds in equally spaced rows, or broadcast seeded, which spreads seeds across the ground surface, into 24 plots in each of three sites in 2005. In summer 2007, we measured species abundance in a 1 m2 quadrat in each plot and mapped common species within the quadrat by recording the most abundant species in each of 64 cells. Quadrat-scale diversity and weed abundance were similar between drilled and broadcast plots, suggesting that processes that limited establishment and controlled invasion were not affected by such fine-scale seed distribution. However, native warm-season (C4) grasses were more abundant and occurred in less compact patches in drilled plots. This difference in C4 grass abundance and distribution may result from increased germination or vegetative propagation of C4 grasses in drilled plots. Our findings suggest that local plant density may control fine-scale heterogeneity and species composition in restored grasslands, processes that need to be further investigated to determine whether seed distributions can be manipulated to increase diversity in restored grasslands.

  1. The nuclear power plant and the host community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Olsson, G.

    1978-01-01

    A councillor from a small Swedish community (Kaevlinge) in the vicinity of the Barsebaeck nuclear power plant describes the effects which the plant has had on neighbouring communities. The effect on the labour market has been small at Kaevlinge, both during routine operation and construction phases. This is however, a fairly densely populated area with a population of half a million in a radius of 30 km. The situation is different at Oskarshamn or Oesthammar. Neither has there been any special economic benefit, due to Swedish taxation laws. There has been little local anxiety due to the proximity of the nuclear power plant. Certain local planning problems have been caused by restricted zones and power cables. Cooperation between the local authorities and the utility has been good. (JIW)

  2. Evaluation of Rgb-Based Vegetation Indices from Uav Imagery to Estimate Forage Yield in Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lussem, U.; Bolten, A.; Gnyp, M. L.; Jasper, J.; Bareth, G.

    2018-04-01

    Monitoring forage yield throughout the growing season is of key importance to support management decisions on grasslands/pastures. Especially on intensely managed grasslands, where nitrogen fertilizer and/or manure are applied regularly, precision agriculture applications are beneficial to support sustainable, site-specific management decisions on fertilizer treatment, grazing management and yield forecasting to mitigate potential negative impacts. To support these management decisions, timely and accurate information is needed on plant parameters (e.g. forage yield) with a high spatial and temporal resolution. However, in highly heterogeneous plant communities such as grasslands, assessing their in-field variability non-destructively to determine e.g. adequate fertilizer application still remains challenging. Especially biomass/yield estimation, as an important parameter in assessing grassland quality and quantity, is rather laborious. Forage yield (dry or fresh matter) is mostly measured manually with rising plate meters (RPM) or ultrasonic sensors (handheld or mounted on vehicles). Thus the in-field variability cannot be assessed for the entire field or only with potential disturbances. Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) equipped with consumer grade RGB cameras in-field variability can be assessed by computing RGB-based vegetation indices. In this contribution we want to test and evaluate the robustness of RGB-based vegetation indices to estimate dry matter forage yield on a recently established experimental grassland site in Germany. Furthermore, the RGB-based VIs are compared to indices computed from the Yara N-Sensor. The results show a good correlation of forage yield with RGB-based VIs such as the NGRDI with R2 values of 0.62.

  3. Effects of water and nitrogen addition on species turnover in temperate grasslands in northern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhuwen Xu

    Full Text Available Global nitrogen (N deposition and climate change have been identified as two of the most important causes of current plant diversity loss. However, temporal patterns of species turnover underlying diversity changes in response to changing precipitation regimes and atmospheric N deposition have received inadequate attention. We carried out a manipulation experiment in a steppe and an old-field in North China from 2005 to 2009, to test the hypothesis that water addition enhances plant species richness through increase in the rate of species gain and decrease in the rate of species loss, while N addition has opposite effects on species changes. Our results showed that water addition increased the rate of species gain in both the steppe and the old field but decreased the rates of species loss and turnover in the old field. In contrast, N addition increased the rates of species loss and turnover in the steppe but decreased the rate of species gain in the old field. The rate of species change was greater in the old field than in the steppe. Water interacted with N to affect species richness and species turnover, indicating that the impacts of N on semi-arid grasslands were largely mediated by water availability. The temporal stability of communities was negatively correlated with rates of species loss and turnover, suggesting that water addition might enhance, but N addition would reduce the compositional stability of grasslands. Experimental results support our initial hypothesis and demonstrate that water and N availabilities differed in the effects on rate of species change in the temperate grasslands, and these effects also depend on grassland types and/or land-use history. Species gain and loss together contribute to the dynamic change of species richness in semi-arid grasslands under future climate change.

  4. Effects of Trampling Limitation on Coastal Dune Plant Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santoro, Riccardo; Jucker, Tommaso; Prisco, Irene; Carboni, Marta; Battisti, Corrado; Acosta, Alicia T. R.

    2012-03-01

    Sandy coastlines are sensitive ecosystems where human activities can have considerable negative impacts. In particular, trampling by beach visitors is a disturbance that affects dune vegetation both at the species and community level. In this study we assess the effects of the limitation of human trampling on dune vegetation in a coastal protected area of Central Italy. We compare plant species diversity in two recently fenced sectors with that of an unfenced area (and therefore subject to human trampling) using rarefaction curves and a diversity/dominance approach during a two year study period. Our results indicate that limiting human trampling seems to be a key factor in driving changes in the plant diversity of dune systems. In 2007 the regression lines of species abundance as a function of rank showed steep slopes and high Y-intercept values in all sectors, indicating a comparable level of stress and dominance across the entire study site. On the contrary, in 2009 the regression lines of the two fenced sectors clearly diverge from that of the open sector, showing less steep slopes. This change in the slopes of the tendency lines, evidenced by the diversity/dominance diagrams and related to an increase in species diversity, suggests the recovery of plant communities in the two fences between 2007 and 2009. In general, plant communities subject to trampling tended to be poorer in species and less structured, since only dominant and tolerant plant species persisted. Furthermore, limiting trampling appears to have produced positive changes in the dune vegetation assemblage after a period of only two years. These results are encouraging for the management of coastal dune systems. They highlight how a simple and cost-effective management strategy, based on passive recovery conservation measures (i.e., fence building), can be a quick (1-2 years) and effective method for improving and safeguarding the diversity of dune plant communities.

  5. Maintaining distances with the engineer: patterns of coexistence in plant communities beyond the patch-bare dichotomy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pescador, David S; Chacón-Labella, Julia; de la Cruz, Marcelino; Escudero, Adrian

    2014-10-01

    Two-phase plant communities with an engineer conforming conspicuous patches and affecting the performance and patterns of coexisting species are the norm under stressful conditions. To unveil the mechanisms governing coexistence in these communities at multiple spatial scales, we have developed a new point-raster approach of spatial pattern analysis, which was applied to a Mediterranean high mountain grassland to show how Festuca curvifolia patches affect the local distribution of coexisting species. We recorded 22 111 individuals of 17 plant perennial species. Most coexisting species were negatively associated with F. curvifolia clumps. Nevertheless, bivariate nearest-neighbor analyses revealed that the majority of coexisting species were confined at relatively short distances from F. curvifolia borders (between 0-2 cm and up to 8 cm in some cases). Our study suggests the existence of a fine-scale effect of F. curvifolia for most species promoting coexistence through a mechanism we call 'facilitation in the halo'. Most coexisting species are displaced to an interphase area between patches, where two opposite forces reach equilibrium: attenuated severe conditions by proximity to the F. curvifolia canopy (nutrient-rich islands) and competitive exclusion mitigated by avoiding direct contact with F. curvifolia. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  6. Ethnobotany of dye plants in Dong communities of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yujing; Ahmed, Selena; Liu, Bo; Guo, Zhiyong; Huang, Weijuan; Wu, Xianjin; Li, Shenghua; Zhou, Jiangju; Lei, Qiyi; Long, Chunlin

    2014-02-19

    Dyes derived from plants have an extensive history of use for coloring food and clothing in Dong communities and other indigenous areas in the uplands of China. In addition to use as coloring agents, Dong communities have historically utilized dye plants for their value for enhancing the nutritive, medicinal and preservative properties of foods. However, the persistence of plant-derived dyes and associated cultural practices and traditional knowledge is threatened with rapid socio-economic change in China. Research is needed to document the ethnobotany of dye plants in indigenous communities towards their conservation and potential commercialization as a sustainable means of supporting local development initiatives. Semi-structured surveys on plants used for coloring agents and associated traditional knowledge were conducted in fifteen Dong villages of Tongdao County in Hunan Province of South Central China during 2011-2012. Transect walks were carried out with key informants identified from semi-structured surveys to collect samples and voucher specimens for each documented plant species for taxonomic identification. Dong households at the study sites utilize the flowers, bark, stems, tubers and roots of 13 plant species from 9 families as dyes to color their customary clothing and food. Out of the documented plants, a total of 7 are used for coloring food, 3 for coloring clothing and 3 for both food and clothing. Documented plants consist of 3 species that yield black pigments, 3 for brownish red/russet pigments, 3 for red pigments, 2 for dark blue pigments and 2 for yellow pigments. In addition to dyes, the plants have multiple uses including medicinal, ornamental, sacrificial, edible, and for timber. The use of dyes derived from plants persists at the study sites for their important role in expressing Dong cultural identity through customary clothing and food. Further research is needed to evaluate the safety of dye plants, their efficacy in enhancing food

  7. Resource-Mediated Indirect Effects of Grassland Management on Arthropod Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simons, Nadja K.; Gossner, Martin M.; Lewinsohn, Thomas M.; Boch, Steffen; Lange, Markus; Müller, Jörg; Pašalić, Esther; Socher, Stephanie A.; Türke, Manfred; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W.

    2014-01-01

    Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the combined effects of different drivers and the chain of effects are largely unknown. In this study we used structural equation modelling to analyse how the arthropod communities in managed grasslands respond to land use and whether these responses are mediated through changes in resource diversity or resource quantity (biomass). Plants were considered resources for herbivores which themselves were considered resources for predators. Plant and arthropod (herbivores and predators) communities were sampled on 141 meadows, pastures and mown pastures within three regions in Germany in 2008 and 2009. Increasing land-use intensity generally increased plant biomass and decreased plant diversity, mainly through increasing fertilization. Herbivore diversity decreased together with plant diversity but showed no response to changes in plant biomass. Hence, land-use effects on herbivore diversity were mediated through resource diversity rather than quantity. Land-use effects on predator diversity were mediated by both herbivore diversity (resource diversity) and herbivore quantity (herbivore biomass), but indirect effects through resource quantity were stronger. Our findings highlight the importance of assessing both direct and indirect effects of land-use intensity and mode on different trophic levels. In addition to the overall effects, there were subtle differences between the different regions, pointing to the importance of regional land-use specificities. Our study underlines the commonly observed strong effect of grassland land use on biodiversity. It also highlights that mechanistic approaches help us to understand how different land-use modes affect biodiversity. PMID:25188423

  8. Habitat Fragmentation Drives Plant Community Assembly Processes across Life Stages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Guang; Feeley, Kenneth J.; Yu, Mingjian

    2016-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is one of the principal causes of biodiversity loss and hence understanding its impacts on community assembly and disassembly is an important topic in ecology. We studied the relationships between fragmentation and community assembly processes in the land-bridge island system of Thousand Island Lake in East China. We focused on the changes in species diversity and phylogenetic diversity that occurred between life stages of woody plants growing on these islands. The observed diversities were compared with the expected diversities from random null models to characterize assembly processes. Regression tree analysis was used to illustrate the relationships between island attributes and community assembly processes. We found that different assembly processes predominate in the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition (SS) vs. the saplings-to-trees transition (ST). Island area was the main attribute driving the assembly process in SS. In ST, island isolation was more important. Within a fragmented landscape, the factors driving community assembly processes were found to differ between life stage transitions. Environmental filtering had a strong effect on the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition. Habitat isolation and dispersal limitation influenced all plant life stages, but had a weaker effect on communities than area. These findings add to our understanding of the processes driving community assembly and species coexistence in the context of pervasive and widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. PMID:27427960

  9. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species – the roles of community attributes, Bromus Interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne; Germino, Matthew; Belnap, Jayne; Brown, Cynthia; Schupp, Eugene W.; St. Clair, Samuel B

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromushereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in particular ambient and soil temperatures, have significant effects on the ability of Bromus to establish and spread. Seasonality of precipitation relative to temperature influences plant community resistance toBromus through effects on soil water storage, timing of water and nutrient availability, and dominant plant life forms. Differences among plant communities in how well soil resource use by the plant community matches resource supply rates can influence the magnitude of resource fluctuations due to either climate or disturbance and thus the opportunities for invasion. The spatial and temporal patterns of resource availability and acquisition of growth resources by Bromus versus native species strongly influence resistance to invasion. Traits of Bromus that confer a “priority advantage” for resource use in many communities include early-season germination and high growth and reproductive rates. Resistance to Bromus can be overwhelmed by high propagule supply, low innate seed dormancy, and large, if short-lived, seed banks. Biological crusts can inhibit germination and establishment of invasive annual plants, including several annual Bromus species, but are effective only in the absence of disturbance. Herbivores can have negative direct effects on Bromus, but positive indirect effects through decreases in competitors. Management strategies can be improved through increased understanding of community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species.

  10. [A phylogenetic analysis of plant communities of Teberda Biosphere Reserve].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shulakov, A A; Egorov, A V; Onipchenko, V G

    2016-01-01

    Phylogenetic analysis of communities is based on the comparison of distances on the phylogenetic tree between species of a community under study and those distances in random samples taken out of local flora. It makes it possible to determine to what extent a community composition is formed by more closely related species (i.e., "clustered") or, on the opposite, it is more even and includes species that are less related with each other. The first case is usually interpreted as a result of strong influence caused by abiotic factors, due to which species with similar ecology, a priori more closely related, would remain: In the second case, biotic factors, such as competition, may come to the fore and lead to forming a community out of distant clades due to divergence of their ecological niches: The aim of this' study Was Ad explore the phylogenetic structure in communities of the northwestern Caucasus at two spatial scales - the scale of area from 4 to 100 m2 and the smaller scale within a community. The list of local flora of the alpine belt has been composed using the database of geobotanic descriptions carried out in Teberda Biosphere Reserve at true altitudes exceeding.1800 m. It includes 585 species of flowering plants belonging to 57 families. Basal groups of flowering plants are.not represented in the list. At the scale of communities of three classes, namely Thlaspietea rotundifolii - commumties formed on screes and pebbles, Calluno-Ulicetea - alpine meadow, and Mulgedio-Aconitetea subalpine meadows, have not demonstrated significant distinction of phylogenetic structure. At intra level, for alpine meadows the larger share of closely related species. (clustered community) is detected. Significantly clustered happen to be those communities developing on rocks (class Asplenietea trichomanis) and alpine (class Juncetea trifidi). At the same time, alpine lichen proved to have even phylogenetic structure at the small scale. Alpine (class Salicetea herbaceae) that

  11. Plant species richness regulates soil respiration through changes in productivity.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tavares Correa Dias, A.; van Ruijven, J.; Berendse, F.

    2010-01-01

    Soil respiration is an important pathway of the C cycle. However, it is still poorly understood how changes in plant community diversity can affect this ecosystem process. Here we used a long-term experiment consisting of a gradient of grassland plant species richness to test for effects of

  12. Plant species richness regulates soil respiration through changes in productivity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dias, A.A.; Ruijven, van J.; Berendse, F.

    2010-01-01

    Soil respiration is an important pathway of the C cycle. However, it is still poorly understood how changes in plant community diversity can affect this ecosystem process. Here we used a long-term experiment consisting of a gradient of grassland plant species richness to test for effects of

  13. Radiocesium fallout in the grasslands on Sakhalin, Kunashir and Shikotan Islands due to Fukushima accident: the radioactive contamination of soil and plants in 2011

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramzaev, V.; Barkovsky, A.; Goncharova, Yu.; Gromov, A.; Kaduka, M.; Romanovich, I.

    2013-01-01

    The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant has resulted in radioactive contamination of environmental media and food in the Far East of Russia, particularly in the Sakhalin Region. To obtain the knowledge about the 134 Cs and 137 Cs spatial distribution in the Sakhalin Region, soil samples were collected at 31 representative grassland sites on Sakhalin, Kunashir and Shikotan islands (43.80°–46.40° N and 142.73°–146.84° E) in the middle of May and around the end of September to early October 2011. In the autumn, vegetation samples (mixed grass/forb crop and bamboo, Sasa sp.) were collected together with soil samples. Maximum measured activity concentrations (on dry weight) of 134 Cs and 137 Cs in soil were 30 Bq kg −1 and 210 Bq kg −1 , respectively. Within soil profile, 134 Cs activity concentrations declined rapidly with depth. Although for both sampling occasions (in the spring and autumn) the radionuclide was completely retained in the upper 3–4 cm of soil, a deeper penetration of the contaminant into the ground was observed in the autumn. In contrast with 134 Cs, activity concentrations of 137 Cs demonstrated a broad range of the vertical distribution in soil; at most sites, the radionuclide was found down to a depth of 20 cm. This resulted from interfering the aged pre-accidental 137 Cs and the new Fukushima-borne 137 Cs. To calculate contribution of these sources to the inventory of 137 Cs, the 134 Cs: 137 Cs activity ratio of 1:1 in Fukushima fallout (the reference date 15 March 2011) was used. The maximum deposition density of Fukushima-derived 137 Cs was found on Shikotan and Kunashir Islands with average density of 0.124 ± 0.018 kBq m −2 and 0.086 ± 0.026 kBq m −2 , respectively. Sakhalin Island was less contaminated by Fukushima-derived 137 Cs of 0.021 ± 0.018 kBq m −2 . For the south of Sakhalin Island, the reference inventory of pre-Fukushima 137 Cs was calculated as 1.93 ± 0.25 kBq m −2 (reference date 15

  14. Genetic sorting of subordinate species in grassland modulated by intraspecific variation in dominant species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danny J Gustafson

    Full Text Available Genetic variation in a single species can have predictable and heritable effects on associated communities and ecosystem processes, however little is known about how genetic variation of a dominant species affects plant community assembly. We characterized the genetic structure of a dominant grass (Sorghastrum nutans and two subordinate species (Chamaecrista fasciculata, Silphium integrifolium, during the third growing season in grassland communities established with genetically distinct (cultivated varieties or local ecotypes seed sources of the dominant grasses. There were genetic differences between subordinate species growing in the cultivar versus local ecotype communities, indicating that intraspecific genetic variation in the dominant grasses affected the genetic composition of subordinate species during community assembly. A positive association between genetic diversity of S. nutans, C. fasciculata, and S. integrifolium and species diversity established the role of an intraspecific biotic filter during community assembly. Our results show that intraspecific variation in dominant species can significantly modulate the genetic composition of subordinate species.

  15. Community-level plant-soil feedbacks explain landscape distribution of native and non-native plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulmatiski, Andrew

    2018-02-01

    Plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) have gained attention for their potential role in explaining plant growth and invasion. While promising, most PSF research has measured plant monoculture growth on different soils in short-term, greenhouse experiments. Here, five soil types were conditioned by growing one native species, three non-native species, or a mixed plant community in different plots in a common-garden experiment. After 4 years, plants were removed and one native and one non-native plant community were planted into replicate plots of each soil type. After three additional years, the percentage cover of each of the three target species in each community was measured. These data were used to parameterize a plant community growth model. Model predictions were compared to native and non-native abundance on the landscape. Native community cover was lowest on soil conditioned by the dominant non-native, Centaurea diffusa , and non-native community cover was lowest on soil cultivated by the dominant native, Pseudoroegneria spicata . Consistent with plant growth on the landscape, the plant growth model predicted that the positive PSFs observed in the common-garden experiment would result in two distinct communities on the landscape: a native plant community on native soils and a non-native plant community on non-native soils. In contrast, when PSF effects were removed, the model predicted that non-native plants would dominate all soils, which was not consistent with plant growth on the landscape. Results provide an example where PSF effects were large enough to change the rank-order abundance of native and non-native plant communities and to explain plant distributions on the landscape. The positive PSFs that contributed to this effect reflected the ability of the two dominant plant species to suppress each other's growth. Results suggest that plant dominance, at least in this system, reflects the ability of a species to suppress the growth of dominant competitors

  16. Role of Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn in Enriching the Depauperate Bird Community in “Cogon” Imperata cylindrica (L. Raeuschel Dominated Grassland in Swidden Vegetation Matrix

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandro A. Bernardo Jr.

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The study was conducted to understand the role of Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn in enhancing the avifaunal diversity in Imperata cylindrica (L. Raeuschel dominated grassland patches and to realize the influence of adjacent vegetations on the assemblage of birds that feed on the fruit of this tree. An avifaunal survey was conducted on “Cogon” dominated grassland patches adjacent to selected vegetations such as primary forest, secondary forest and upland agricultural area. A total of 250 birds belonging to 19 species representing ten families were found feeding on the fruits of Antidesma ghaesembilla. The site adjacent to secondary forest has the highest species richness, abundance and diversity index values. This accentuates the combined influence of the open and forest dwelling bird species thriving in the secondary forest. The sites adjacent to the primary forest and to the agricultural area have the same species richness but differ in species composition as reflected by the low similarity index. More forest dwelling bird species were recorded near the forest while more open dwelling bird species were recorded near the agricultural area. This highlights the spillover effect of the adjacent vegetations on the feeding bird assemblage. The presence of several endemic and conservation priority bird species that feed on the fruits of Antidesma ghaesembilla unfolds its important role in avifaunal conservation. Finally, the wide collection of fruit eating bird species attracted to it emphasized its importance in improving the overall avifaunal diversity in Imperata cylindrica dominated grassland patches within the swidden vegetation matrix.

  17. Modeling impacts of climate change and grazing effects on plant biomass and soil organic carbon in the Qinghai-Tibetan grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Wenjuan; Zhang, Feng; Qi, Jiaguo; Hou, Fujiang

    2017-12-01

    The Qinghai Province supports over 40 % of the human population of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) but occupies about 29 % of its land area, and thus it plays an important role in the plateau. The dominant land cover is grassland, which has been severely degraded over the last decade due to a combination of increased human activities and climate change. Numerous studies indicate that the plateau is sensitive to recent global climate change, but the drivers and consequences of grassland ecosystem change are controversial, especially the effects of climate change and grazing patterns on the grassland biomass and soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in this region. In this study, we used the DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model and two climate change scenarios (representative concentration pathways: RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) to understand how the grassland biomass and SOC pools might respond to different grazing intensities under future climate change scenarios. More than 1400 grassland biomass sampling points and 46 SOC points were used to validate the simulated results. The simulated above-ground biomass and SOC concentrations were in good agreement with the measured data (R2 0.71 and 0.73 for above-ground biomass and SOC, respectively). The results showed that climate change may be the major factor that leads to fluctuations in the grassland biomass and SOC, and it explained 26.4 and 47.7 % of biomass and SOC variation, respectively. Meanwhile, the grazing intensity explained 6.4 and 2.3 % variation in biomass and SOC, respectively. The project average biomass and SOC between 2015 and 2044 was significantly smaller than past 30 years (1985-2014), and it was 191.17 g C m-2, 63.44 g C kg-1 and 183.62 g C m-2, 63.37 g C kg-1 for biomass and SOC under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively. The RCP8.5 showed the more negative effect on the biomass and SOC compared with RCP4.5. Grazing intensity had a negative relationship with biomass and positive relationship with SOC

  18. Diversity of MAPs in some plant communities of Stara Planina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Obratov-Petković Dragica

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The high floristic diversity of Stara Planina was the starting base for the research of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs in individual forest and meadow communities. The sites Javor and Prelesje, forest community Fagetum moesiacae montanum B. Jov. 1953, pioneer community of birch Betuletum verrucosae s.l. and meadow community Agrostietum vulgaris (capillaris Pavlović, Z. 1955, were researched as follows: soil types, floristic composition and structure of the community, percentage of MAPs, as well as the selection of species which, according to the predetermined criteria can be recommended for further exploitation. The study shows that the soil of the forest communities is eutric brown, and meadow soils are dystric and eutric humus-siliceous. The percentage of MAPs in the floristic structure of the study sites in forest and meadow communities is 32.35%. The following species can be recommended for the collection and utilisation: Hypericum perforatum L., Asperula odorata L., Dryopteris filix-mas (L Schott. Urtica dioica L., Euphorbia amygdaloides L., Prunella grandiflora L. Tanacetum vulgare L., Achillea millefolium L., Rumex acetosa L., Campanula glomerata L., Stachys officinalis (L Trevis., Plantago lanceolata W. et K., Potentilla erecta (L Rauchel, Chamaespartium sagittale (L P. Gibbs. Cynanchum vincetoxicum (L Pers., Euphrasia stricta Host., Fagus moesiaca (Matt Liebl. and Fragaria vesca L.

  19. Draft Genome Sequence of Bacillus velezensis 3A-25B, a Strain with Biocontrol Activity against Fungal and Oomycete Root Plant Phytopathogens, Isolated from Grassland Soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez-Raudales, Inés; De La Cruz-Rodríguez, Yumiko; Vega-Arreguín, Julio; Alvarado-Gutiérrez, Alejandro; Fraire-Mayorga, Atzin; Alvarado-Rodríguez, Miguel; Balderas-Hernández, Victor; Gómez-Soto, José Manuel; Fraire-Velázquez, Saúl

    2017-09-28

    Here, we present the draft genome of Bacillus velezensis 3A-25B, which totaled 4.01 Mb with 36 contigs, 3,948 genes, and a GC content of 46.34%. This strain, which demonstrates biocontrol activity against root rot causal phytopathogens in horticultural crops and friendly interactions in roots of pepper plantlets, was obtained from grassland soil in Zacatecas Province, Mexico. Copyright © 2017 Martínez-Raudales et al.

  20. Interactions between the flooding regime and floodplain grasslands in the Tana River Delta, in Kenya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leauthaud, Crystele; Musila, Winfred; Duvail, Stéphanie; Kergoat, Laurent; Hiernaux, Pierre; Grippa, Manuela; Albergel, Jean

    2017-04-01

    The floodplain grasslands of the Tana River Delta, located on the East African coast in Kenya, form part of an intertwined socio-ecological deltaic system of high biodiversity value that delivers numerous goods and services. Mainly composed of Echinochloa stagnina (Retz) P. Beauv., a high-value forage species, this ecosystem is the major dry-season grazing grounds of the local pastoralist communities. The construction of hydroelectric infrastructure has led to a modification of the flooding regime. The impacts of the resulting reduction of floods in the deltaic zone on ecosystem properties and services still need to be assessed. In such a perspective, this study characterizes the link between the flooding regime of the Tana River and the growth pattern of its floodplain grassland. Aboveground dry phytomass was sampled for 15 months under a wide variety of naturally flooded and non-flooded conditions and controlled irrigation and cutting frequency treatments. Annual aboveground dry phytomass attained high values between 11 T.ha-1 and 32 T.ha-1 and annual net primary production of the grasslands reached 35 T.ha-1.year-1. Growth rates clearly depended on the flooding regime, management and climate conditions and were on average more than twice as fast during, and 50% faster after the floods, relative to pre-flood conditions. A plant growth model allowed testing the effect of different flooding regimes on plant productivity, confirming very low productivity in the absence of floods. These results suggest that rangeland and water management for the Tana River deltaic wetlands are tightly linked. The projected construction of another dam could lead to a reduction of flood extent and period and a decrease of grassland productivity and growth duration. Mitigation of this type of negative impacts, which will have direct and adverse consequences for the pastoralist communities as well as on the delivery of other goods and services, needs to be undertaken.

  1. Assessing the Effects of Grassland Management on Forage Production and Environmental Quality to Identify Paths to Ecological Intensification in Mountain Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loucougaray, Grégory; Dobremez, Laurent; Gos, Pierre; Pauthenet, Yves; Nettier, Baptiste; Lavorel, Sandra

    2015-11-01

    Ecological intensification in grasslands can be regarded as a process for increasing forage production while maintaining high levels of ecosystem functions and biodiversity. In the mountain Vercors massif, where dairy cattle farming is the main component of agriculture, how to achieve forage autonomy at farm level while sustaining environmental quality for tourism and local dairy products has recently stimulated local debate. As specific management is one of the main drivers of ecosystem functioning, we assessed the response of forage production and environmental quality at grassland scale across a wide range of management practices. We aimed to determine which components of management can be harnessed to better match forage production and environmental quality. We sampled the vegetation of 51 grasslands stratified across 13 grassland types. We assessed each grassland for agronomic and environmental properties, measuring forage production, forage quality, and indices based on the abundance of particular plant species such as timing flexibility, apiarian potential, and aromatic plants. Our results revealed an expected trade-off between forage production and environmental quality, notably by stressing the contrasts between sown and permanent grasslands. However, strong within-type variability in both production and environmental quality as well as in flexibility of timing of use suggests possible ways to improve this trade-off at grassland and farm scales. As achieving forage autonomy relies on increasing both forage production and grassland resilience, our results highlight the critical role of the ratio between sown and permanent grasslands as a major path for ecological intensification in mountain grasslands.

  2. Climate Effects on Plant Range Distributions and Community Structure of Pacific Northwest Prairies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bridgham, Scott D. [Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States); Johnson, Bart [Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States)

    2013-09-26

    Pacific Northwest (PNW) prairies are an imperiled ecosystem that contain a large number of plant species with high fidelity to this habitat. The few remaining high-quality PNW prairies harbor a number of sensitive, rare, and endangered plant species that may be further at-risk with climate change. Thus, PNW prairies are an excellent model system to examine how climate change will affect the distribution of native plant species in grassland sites. Our experimental objectives were to determine: (i) how climate change will affect the range distribution of native plant species; (ii) what life history stages are most sensitive to climate change in a group of key indicator native species; (iii) the robustness of current restoration techniques and suites of species to changing climate, and in particular, the relative competitiveness of native species versus exotic invasive species; and (iv) the effects of climate change on carbon and nutrient cycling and soil-microbial-plant feedbacks. We addressed these objectives by experimentally increasing temperature 2.5 to 3.0 ºC above ambient with overhead infrared lamps and increasing wet-season precipitation by 20% above ambient in three upland prairie sites in central-western Washington, central-western Oregon, and southwestern Oregon from fall 2010 through 2012. Additional precipitation was applied within 2 weeks of when it fell so precipitation intensity was increased, particularly during the winter rainy season but with minimal additions during the summer dry season. These three sites also represent a 520-km natural climate gradient of increasing degree of severity of Mediterranean climate from north to south. After removing the extant vegetation, we planted a diverse suite of 12 native species that have their northern range limit someplace within the PNW in each experimental plot. An additional 20 more wide-spread native species were also planted into each plot. We found that recruitment of plant species within their ranges

  3. Mapping of aggregated floodplain plant communities using image fusion of CASI and LiDAR data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verrelst, J.; Geerling, G.W.; Sykora, K.V.; Clevers, J.G.P.W.

    2009-01-01

    Combined optical and laser altimeter data offer the potential to map and monitor plant communities based on their spectral and structural characteristics. A problem unresolved is, however, that narrowly defined plant communities, i.e. plant communities at a low hierarchical level of classification

  4. Development of an improved compact package plant for small community waste-water treatment

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Hulsman, A

    1993-01-01

    Full Text Available The challenges facing the design and operation of small community wastewater treatment plants are discussed. The package plant concept is considered and the consequent development of a compact intermittently aerated activated sludge package plant...

  5. Facilitation by a Spiny Shrub on a Rhizomatous Clonal Herbaceous in Thicketization-Grassland in Northern China: Increased Soil Resources or Shelter from Herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saixiyala

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The formation of fertility islands by shrubs increases soil resources heterogeneity in thicketization-grasslands. Clonal plants, especially rhizomatous or stoloniferous clonal plants, can form large clonal networks and use heterogeneously distributed resources effectively. In addition, shrubs, especially spiny shrubs, may also provide herbaceous plants with protection from herbivores, acting as ‘shelters’. The interaction between pre-dominated clonal herbaceous plants and encroaching shrubs remains unclear in thicketization-grassland under grazing pressure. We hypothesized that clonal herbaceous plants can be facilitated by encroached shrubs as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ and/or as an ‘increased soil resources’ under grazing pressure. To test this hypothesis, a total of 60 quadrats were chosen in a thicket-grassland in northern China that was previously dominated by Leymus chinensis and was encroached upon by the spiny leguminous plant Caragana intermedia. The soil and plant traits beneath and outside the shrub canopies were sampled, investigated and contrasted with an enclosure. The soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen and soil water content were significantly higher in the soil beneath the shrub canopies than in the soil outside the canopies. L. chinensis beneath the shrub canopies had significantly higher plant height, single shoot biomass, leaf length and width than outside the shrub canopies. There were no significantly differences between plant growth in enclosure and outside the shrub canopies. These results suggested that under grazing pressure in a grassland undergoing thicketization, the growth of the rhizomatous clonal herbaceous plant L. chinensis was facilitated by the spiny shrub C. intermedia as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ more than through ‘increased soil resources’. We propose that future studies should focus on the community- and ecosystem-level impacts of plant clonality.

  6. The impact of plant chemical diversity on plant-herbivore interactions at the community level.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salazar, Diego; Jaramillo, Alejandra; Marquis, Robert J

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the role of diversity in ecosystem processes and species interactions is a central goal of ecology. For plant-herbivore interactions, it has been hypothesized that when plant species diversity is reduced, loss of plant biomass to herbivores increases. Although long-standing, this hypothesis has received mixed support. Increasing plant chemical diversity with increasing plant taxonomic diversity is likely to be important for plant-herbivore interactions at the community level, but the role of chemical diversity is unexplored. Here we assess the effect of volatile chemical diversity on patterns of herbivore damage in naturally occurring patches of Piper (Piperaceae) shrubs in a Costa Rican lowland wet forest. Volatile chemical diversity negatively affected total, specialist, and generalist herbivore damage. Furthermore, there were differences between the effects of high-volatility and low-volatility chemical diversity on herbivore damage. High-volatility diversity reduced specialist herbivory, while low-volatility diversity reduced generalist herbivory. Our data suggest that, although increased plant diversity is expected to reduce average herbivore damage, this pattern is likely mediated by the diversity of defensive compounds and general classes of anti-herbivore traits, as well as the degree of specialization of the herbivores attacking those plants.

  7. Conceptual hierarchical modeling to describe wetland plant community organization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Little, A.M.; Guntenspergen, G.R.; Allen, T.F.H.

    2010-01-01

    Using multivariate analysis, we created a hierarchical modeling process that describes how differently-scaled environmental factors interact to affect wetland-scale plant community organization in a system of small, isolated wetlands on Mount Desert Island, Maine. We followed the procedure: 1) delineate wetland groups using cluster analysis, 2) identify differently scaled environmental gradients using non-metric multidimensional scaling, 3) order gradient hierarchical levels according to spatiotem-poral scale of fluctuation, and 4) assemble hierarchical model using group relationships with ordination axes and post-hoc tests of environmental differences. Using this process, we determined 1) large wetland size and poor surface water chemistry led to the development of shrub fen wetland vegetation, 2) Sphagnum and water chemistry differences affected fen vs. marsh / sedge meadows status within small wetlands, and 3) small-scale hydrologic differences explained transitions between forested vs. non-forested and marsh vs. sedge meadow vegetation. This hierarchical modeling process can help explain how upper level contextual processes constrain biotic community response to lower-level environmental changes. It creates models with more nuanced spatiotemporal complexity than classification and regression tree procedures. Using this process, wetland scientists will be able to generate more generalizable theories of plant community organization, and useful management models. ?? Society of Wetland Scientists 2009.

  8. Abandoned floodplain plant communities along a regulated dryland river

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, L. V.; Shafroth, Patrick B.; House, P. K.

    2014-01-01

    Rivers and their floodplains worldwide have changed dramatically over the last century because of regulation by dams, flow diversions and channel stabilization. Floodplains no longer inundated by river flows following dam-induced flood reduction comprise large areas of bottomland habitat, but the effects of abandonment on plant communities are not well understood. Using a hydraulic flow model, geomorphic mapping and field surveys, we addressed the following questions along the Bill Williams River, Arizona: (i) What per cent of the bottomland do abandoned floodplains comprise? and (ii) Are abandoned floodplains quantitatively different from adjacent xeric and riparian surfaces in terms of vegetation composition and surface sediment? We found that nearly 70% of active channel and floodplain area was abandoned following dam installation. Abandoned floodplains along the Bill Williams River tend to be similar to each other yet distinct from neighbouring habitats: they have been altered physically from their historic state, leading to distinct combinations of surface sediments, hydrology and plant communities. Abandoned floodplains may transition to xeric communities over time but are likely to retain some riparian qualities as long as there is access to relatively shallow ground water. With expected increases in water demand and drying climatic conditions in many regions, these surfaces and associated vegetation will continue to be extensive in riparian landscapes worldwide

  9. Methods for evaluation of the invasibility of grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strandberg, M. T.; Strandberg, B.; Erneberg, M.

    The number of non-native plant species in Danish dry acidic grasslands was positively correlated with the cover of disturbance in the form of molehills, anthills, mouseholes and erosion due trampling or digging by large herbivores/livestock. Natural disturbance in acidic grassland ecosystems...... not grazed by livestock therefore is important for the occurrence of non-native species, and probably also for the occurrence of a high native floristic diversity....

  10. Increased competition does not lead to increased phylogenetic overdispersion in a native grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Jonathan A; Lamb, Eric G; Hall, Jocelyn C; Cardinal-McTeague, Warren M; Cahill, James F

    2013-09-01

    That competition is stronger among closely related species and leads to phylogenetic overdispersion is a common assumption in community ecology. However, tests of this assumption are rare and field-based experiments lacking. We tested the relationship between competition, the degree of relatedness, and overdispersion among plants experimentally and using a field survey in a native grassland. Relatedness did not affect competition, nor was competition associated with phylogenetic overdispersion. Further, there was only weak evidence for increased overdispersion at spatial scales where plants are likely to compete. These results challenge traditional theory, but are consistent with recent theories regarding the mechanisms of plant competition and its potential effect on phylogenetic structure. We suggest that specific conditions related to the form of competition and trait conservatism must be met for competition to cause phylogenetic overdispersion. Consequently, overdispersion as a result of competition is likely to be rare in natural communities. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  11. No consistent effect of plant species richness on resistance to simulated climate change for above- or below-ground processes in managed grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dormann, Carsten F; von Riedmatten, Lars; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael

    2017-06-17

    Species richness affects processes and functions in many ecosystems. Since management of temperate grasslands is directly affecting species composition and richness, it can indirectly govern how systems respond to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Our aim in this study was to investigate whether species richness in managed grasslands can buffer the effects of drought and warming manipulations and hence increase the resistance to climate change. We established 45 plots in three regions across Germany, each with three different management regimes (pasture, meadow and mown pasture). We manipulated spring warming using open-top chambers and summer drought using rain-out shelters for 4 weeks. Measurements of species richness, above- and below-ground biomass and soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations showed significant but inconsistent differences among regions, managements and manipulations. We detected a three-way interaction between species richness, management and region, indicating that our study design was sensitive enough to detect even intricate effects. We could not detect a pervasive effect of species richness on biomass differences between treatments and controls, indicating that a combination of spring warming and summer drought effects on grassland systems are not consistently moderated by species richness. We attribute this to the relatively high number of species even at low richness levels, which already provides the complementarity required for positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. A review of the literature also indicates that climate manipulations largely fail to show richness-buffering, while natural experiments do, suggesting that such manipulations are milder than reality or incur treatment artefacts.

  12. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Jesse E.D.; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Harrison, Susan P.; Grace, James B.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural landscapes become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. In this study, we asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure-defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index)-had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities, and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats.

  13. Population and community ecology of the rare plant amsinckia grandiflora

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carlsen, T.M.

    1996-11-01

    Research was conducted between the fall of 1992 and the spring on the population and community ecology of the rare annual plant, Amsinckia glandiflora (Gray) Kleeb. ex Greene (Boraginaceae). The research goal was to investigate the causes of the species rarity, data useful to restorative efforts. The work focused on the examination of competitive suppression by exotic annual grasses; comparisons with common, weedy congener; and the role of litter cover and seed germination and seedling establishment. Annual exotic grasses reduced A. grandiflora reproductive output to a greater extent than did the native perennial bunch grass.

  14. Engineering a plant community to deliver multiple ecosystem services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Storkey, Jonathan; Döring, Thomas; Baddeley, John; Collins, Rosemary; Roderick, Stephen; Jones, Hannah; Watson, Christine

    2015-06-01

    The sustainable delivery of multiple ecosystem services requires the management of functionally diverse biological communities. In an agricultural context, an emphasis on food production has often led to a loss of biodiversity to the detriment of other ecosystem services such as the maintenance of soil health and pest regulation. In scenarios where multiple species can be grown together, it may be possible to better balance environmental and agronomic services through the targeted selection of companion species. We used the case study of legume-based cover crops to engineer a plant community that delivered the optimal balance of six ecosystem services: early productivity, regrowth following mowing, weed suppression, support of invertebrates, soil fertility building (measured as yield of following crop), and conservation of nutrients in the soil. An experimental species pool of 12 cultivated legume species was screened for a range of functional traits and ecosystem services at five sites across a geographical gradient in the United Kingdom. All possible species combinations were then analyzed, using a process-based model of plant competition, to identify the community that delivered the best balance of services at each site. In our system, low to intermediate levels of species richness (one to four species) that exploited functional contrasts in growth habit and phenology were identified as being optimal. The optimal solution was determined largely by the number of species and functional diversity represented by the starting species pool, emphasizing the importance of the initial selection of species for the screening experiments. The approach of using relationships between functional traits and ecosystem services to design multifunctional biological communities has the potential to inform the design of agricultural systems that better balance agronomic and environmental services and meet the current objective of European agricultural policy to maintain viable food

  15. Data-model synthesis of grassland carbon metabolism. Quantifying direct, indirect & interactive effects of warming & elevated CO2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pendall, Elise [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Ogle, Kiona [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Parton, William [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)

    2016-02-29

    This research project improved understanding of how climate change (elevated atmospheric CO2, warming and altered precipitation) can affect grassland ecosystem productivity and nutrient availability. Our advanced experimental and modeling methods allowed us to test 21 specific hypotheses. We found that ecosystem changes over years of exposure to climate change can shift the plant communities and potentially make them more resilient to future climate changes. These changes in plant communities may be related to increased growth of belowground roots and enhanced nutrient uptake by some species. We also found that climate change can increase the spread of invasive and noxious weeds. These findings are important for land managers to make adaptive planning decisions for domestic livestock production in response to climate variability in semi-arid grasslands.

  16. The effects of warming and nitrogen addition on soil nitrogen cycling in a temperate grassland, northeastern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lin-Na Ma

    Full Text Available Both climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N deposition are predicted to affect soil N cycling in terrestrial biomes over the next century. However, the interactive effects of warming and N deposition on soil N mineralization in temperate grasslands are poorly understood.A field manipulation experiment was conducted to examine the effects of warming and N addition on soil N cycling in a temperate grassland of northeastern China from 2007 to 2009. Soil samples were incubated at a constant temperature and moisture, from samples collected in the field. The results showed that both warming and N addition significantly stimulated soil net N mineralization rate and net nitrification rate. Combined warming and N addition caused an interactive effect on N mineralization, which could be explained by the relative shift of soil microbial community structure because of fungal biomass increase and strong plant uptake of added N due to warming. Irrespective of strong intra- and inter-annual variations in soil N mineralization, the responses of N mineralization to warming and N addition did not change during the three growing seasons, suggesting independence of warming and N responses of N mineralization from precipitation variations in the temperate grassland.Interactions between climate warming and N deposition on soil N cycling were significant. These findings will improve our understanding on the response of soil N cycling to the simultaneous climate change drivers in temperate grassland ecosystem.

  17. Biomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Zavalloni, C.; Gielen, B.; Malchair, S.; Carnol, M.; Merckx, R.; van den Berge, J.; Ceulemans, R.; Nijs, I.

    2008-04-01

    Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3°C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness.

  18. Plant Community and Nitrogen Deposition as Drivers of Alpha and Beta Diversities of Prokaryotes in Reconstructed Oil Sand Soils and Natural Boreal Forest Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prescott, Cindy E.; Renaut, Sébastien; Terrat, Yves; Grayston, Sue J.

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT The Athabasca oil sand deposit is one of the largest single oil deposits in the world. Following surface mining, companies are required to restore soil-like profiles that can support the previous land capabilities. The objective of this study was to assess whether the soil prokaryotic alpha diversity (α-diversity) and β-diversity in oil sand soils reconstructed 20 to 30 years previously and planted to one of three vegetation types (coniferous or deciduous trees and grassland) were similar to those found in natural boreal forest soils subject to wildfire disturbance. Prokaryotic α-diversity and β-diversity were assessed using massively parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The β-diversity, but not the α-diversity, differed between reconstructed and natural soils. Bacteria associated with an oligotrophic lifestyle were more abundant in natural forest soils, whereas bacteria associated with a copiotrophic lifestyle were more abundant in reconstructed soils. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea were most abundant in reconstructed soils planted with grasses. Plant species were the main factor influencing α-diversity in natural and in reconstructed soils. Nitrogen deposition, pH, and plant species were the main factors influencing the β-diversity of the prokaryotic communities in natural and reconstructed soils. The results highlight the importance of nitrogen deposition and aboveground-belowground relationships in shaping soil microbial communities in natural and reconstructed soils. IMPORTANCE Covering over 800 km2, land disturbed by the exploitation of the oil sands in Canada has to be restored. Here, we take advantage of the proximity between these reconstructed ecosystems and the boreal forest surrounding the oil sand mining area to study soil microbial community structure and processes in both natural and nonnatural environments. By identifying key characteristics shaping the structure of soil microbial communities, this study improved our understanding of

  19. Plant Community and Nitrogen Deposition as Drivers of Alpha and Beta Diversities of Prokaryotes in Reconstructed Oil Sand Soils and Natural Boreal Forest Soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masse, Jacynthe; Prescott, Cindy E; Renaut, Sébastien; Terrat, Yves; Grayston, Sue J

    2017-05-01

    The Athabasca oil sand deposit is one of the largest single oil deposits in the world. Following surface mining, companies are required to restore soil-like profiles that can support the previous land capabilities. The objective of this study was to assess whether the soil prokaryotic alpha diversity (α-diversity) and β-diversity in oil sand soils reconstructed 20 to 30 years previously and planted to one of three vegetation types (coniferous or deciduous trees and grassland) were similar to those found in natural boreal forest soils subject to wildfire disturbance. Prokaryotic α-diversity and β-diversity were assessed using massively parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The β-diversity, but not the α-diversity, differed between reconstructed and natural soils. Bacteria associated with an oligotrophic lifestyle were more abundant in natural forest soils, whereas bacteria associated with a copiotrophic lifestyle were more abundant in reconstructed soils. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea were most abundant in reconstructed soils planted with grasses. Plant species were the main factor influencing α-diversity in natural and in reconstructed soils. Nitrogen deposition, pH, and plant species were the main factors influencing the β-diversity of the prokaryotic communities in natural and reconstructed soils. The results highlight the importance of nitrogen deposition and aboveground-belowground relationships in shaping soil microbial communities in natural and reconstructed soils. IMPORTANCE Covering over 800 km 2 , land disturbed by the exploitation of the oil sands in Canada has to be restored. Here, we take advantage of the proximity between these reconstructed ecosystems and the boreal forest surrounding the oil sand mining area to study soil microbial community structure and processes in both natural and nonnatural environments. By identifying key characteristics shaping the structure of soil microbial communities, this study improved our understanding of how

  20. Diversidad y distribución de acridios (Orthoptera: Acridoidea en pastizales del sur de la región pampeana, Argentina Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yanina Mariottini

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Los acridios son componentes nativos de los pastizales, dichos sistemas han sido modificados debido a la intensificación de las actividades agrícola-ganaderas y por lo tanto se considera importante estudiar las comunidades de acridios asociadas. Se estudió la diversidad y distribución de acridios en el Sur de la región pampeana a través de muestreos realizados en las comunidades vegetales más representativas del partido de Laprida, provincia de Buenos Aires, durante cinco temporadas (2005-2010. Se recolectaron 22 especies. La subfamilia Melanoplinae fue la más diversa (ocho especies. La mayor cantidad de especies se observó en los pastizales nativos (18. La diversidad en los pastizales alterados (1.75±0.096 fue superior (pIn Argentina, the grasslands of Pampas region comprise approximately 15% of the country. As in other grasslands of the world, grasshoppers are among the most important native herbivores. Their economic importance has been recognized in Argentina since the mid to late nineteenth century, since outbreaks of different species have become recurrent phenomena. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to study their diversity and distribution in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region (Laprida county, Buenos Aires province, as one of the most affected areas. The study was conducted during five seasons (2005-10. Sampling sites were represented by the most common plant communities in this area, classified in four categories: native grasslands, disturbed grasslands, implanted pastures and halophilous grasslands. The samplings were conducted from mid-spring to early autumn, with five or six samples per season. We estimated the following population descriptors: species richness (S, eveness (E, dominance (J, and diversity index (H´. In order to evaluate the similitude of the grasshopper communities present in the different plant communities, we used qualitative and quantitative coefficients of similitude. A total of 22

  1. Assessing the effects of abiotic stress and livestock grazing disturbance on an alpine grassland with CSR model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jun; Luo, Peng; Mou, Chengxiang; Yang, Hao; Mo, Li; Luo, Chuan; Kattge, Jens

    2016-04-01

    How the abiotic factors represented by cold environment and biotic factors represented by livestock grazing will affect the vegetation structure of alpine grassland is a core issue in understanding the cause of biodiversity change on Tibetan Plateau. Past studies on changes of floristic composition, growth forms did not adequately answer question. Given the fact that the response of plant to environment change depend on its life strategy, a synthetical method that based on plant life strategy may deepen our understanding of the mechanism. Using Grime's concept of CSR plant classification, we carried out a vegetation survey along a gradient (three levels) of graze intensity on the south-east of Tibet Plateau, in order to evaluate the role and mechanism of abiotic stress and grazing disturbance in driving plant diversity change, by analyzing the plant life strategy compositions in each of the community and by comparing the characteristic of the strategy compositions along the graze gradient. When the graze intensity was relative low, the dominant plant life strategy gathered in the stress tolerance corner, which conformed the theory of environmental filter, indicating that the ideal top plant community may be dominated by the species with stress tolerant strategy. We also found that the response of strategy dominance to graze intensity increase is positively correlated with the competitive capacity (R 2=0.671; Pstrategy (R 2=0.047; P=0.42). This reflected a general shift of plant strategy from stress tolerant to competitive (rather than ruderal as expected) and suggested that the mechanism of graze to affect plant community is different from that of other disturbance like fire, clipping, till, etc. The particular selective foraging and escaping from feces may provide more opportunities for competitive than ruderal strategy to dominant the community. This study demonstrated that CSR plant strategy be a useful tool to evaluate the effects of abiotic and biotic factors

  2. Community leaders' perspectives on socio-economic impacts of power-plant development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hastings, M.; Cawley, M.E.

    1981-01-01

    The primary focus of this research effort was to identify and measure the socioeconomic impacts of power plant development on non-metropolitan host communities. A mail survey, distributed to community leaders in 100 power plant communities east of the Mississippi River, was utilized to gather information from 713 respondents. Community leaders were questioned as to the plant's impact on (a) community groups, (b) aspects of community life, (c) overall community acceptance and (d) attitudes toward power plant development. Overall, the trends and patterns of plant impact on the host communities were found to be largely positive. Specifically, local employment opportunities were generally enhanced with the advent of the power plant. Directly related to power plant development was the overall improvement of the local economic situation. Off-shoots from such in the economic area included related general improvements in the community quality of life. While the vast majority of community leaders responded with positive comments on power plant presence, adverse impacts were also mentioned. Negative comments focused on environmental problems, deterioration of roads and traffic conditions, and the possibility of nuclear accidents. Despite these negative impacts, almost two-thirds of the community leaders would definitely support the reconstruction of the same energy facility. Power plant development, therefore, is generally perceived as both a positive and beneficial asset for the host area. (author)

  3. Soil ecosystem functioning under climate change: plant species and community effects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kardol, Paul [ORNL; Cregger, Melissa [ORNL; Campany, Courtney E [ORNL; Classen, Aimee T [ORNL

    2010-01-01

    Feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change depend on soil ecosystem dynamics. Soil ecosystems can directly and indirectly respond to climate change. For example, warming directly alters microbial communities by increasing their activity. Climate change may also alter plant community composition, thus indirectly altering the microbial communities that feed on their inputs. To better understand how climate change may directly and indirectly alter soil ecosystem functioning, we investigated old-field plant community and soil ecosystem responses to single and combined effects of elevated [CO2], warming, and water availability. Specifically, we collected soils at the plot level (plant community soils), and beneath dominant plant species (plant-specific soils). We used microbial enzyme activities and soil nematodes as indicators for soil ecosystem functioning. Our study resulted in two main findings: 1) Overall, while there were some interactions, water, relative to increases in [CO2] and warming, had the largest impact on plant community composition, soil enzyme activities, and soil nematodes. Multiple climate change factors can interact to shape ecosystems, but in this case, those interactions were largely driven by changes in water availability. 2) Indirect effects of climate change, via changes in plant communities, had a significant impact on soil ecosystem functioning and this impact was not obvious when looking at plant community soils. Climate change effects on enzyme activities and soil nematode abundance and community structure strongly differed between plant community soils and plant-specific soils, but also within plant-specific soils. In sum, these results indicate that accurate assessments of climate change impacts on soil ecosystem functioning require incorporating the concurrent changes in plant function and plant community composition. Climate change-induced shifts in plant community composition will likely modify or counteract the direct

  4. Plant-conservative agriculture of acid and degraded Raña-grassland enhances diversity of the common soil mites (Oribatida)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jorrín, J.; González-Fernández, P.

    2016-11-01

    The seminatural prairie of the Raña of Cañamero (Spain) is a degraded and unproductive agrosystem with acid and stony soils, and low coverage of xerophytic grasses. In a project about secondary reconversion of the raña-prairie to a more productive cropland, an experimental field (EF) was established to assess the effect on plot-productivity of the interaction between correction of soil pH (liming) with three cropping systems: a no-tilled and annually fertilized and improved prairies, and a conventionally-tilled forage crop. The EF model of management was designed as plant-conservative, because no herbicide was applied after seeding to preserve the post-emergence of wild herbs and the natural grass diversity of the prairie. Between 2008 and 2012, we analysed the effect of managing factors (initial conventional-tillage, fertilization, liming and cropping) and agricultural predictors (pH, C:N ratio, soil bulk density and herbaceous biomass) on the alpha(α)-diversity of one of the major group of soil animals, the oribatids. In relation to the raña-prairie, all EF-plots improved their soil bulk density (ρs) and herbaceous biomass (t/ha), and enhanced desirable α-diversity values (richness, abundance and community equity). We conclude that the plant-conservative model: i) do not affect statistically the species richness of the prairie; ii) the desirable α-diversity responses are negatively correlated with soil bulk density and positively with herbaceous biomass, and iii) the low input or minimum intervention model, of an initial and conventional till and annual fertilisation, is the threshold and optimal model of agricultural management to improving oribatids diversity of the raña-soil. (Author)

  5. Elevated tropospheric CO2 and O3 concentrations impair organic pollutant removal from grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ai, Fuxun; Eisenhauer, Nico; Jousset, Alexandre; Butenschoen, Olaf; Ji, Rong; Guo, Hongyan

    2018-04-03

    The concentrations of tropospheric CO 2 and O 3 have been rising due to human activities. These rising concentrations may have strong impacts on soil functions as changes in plant physiology may lead to altered plant-soil interactions. Here, the effects of eCO 2 and eO 3 on the removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants in grassland soil were studied. Both elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations decreased PAH removal with lowest removal rates at elevated CO 2 and elevated O 3 concentrations. This effect was linked to a shift in soil microbial community structure by structural equation modeling. Elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations reduced the abundance of gram-positive bacteria, which were tightly linked to soil enzyme production and PAH degradation. Although plant diversity did not buffer CO 2 and O 3 effects, certain soil microbial communities and functions were affected by plant communities, indicating the potential for longer-term phytoremediation approaches. Results of this study show that elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations may compromise the ability of soils to degrade organic pollutants. On the other hand, the present study also indicates that the targeted assembly of plant communities may be a promising tool to shape soil microbial communities for the degradation of organic pollutants in a changing world.

  6. Divergent composition but similar function of soil food webs of individual plants: plant species and community effects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bezemer, T.M.; Fountain, T.; Barea, J.M.; Christensen, S.; Dekker, S.C.; Duyts, H.; Hal, van R.; Harvey, J.A.; Hedlund, K.; Maraun, M.; Mikola, J.; Mladenov, A.G.; Robin, C.; Ruiter, de P.C.; Scheu, H.; Setälä, S.; šmilauer, P.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2010-01-01

    Soils are extremely rich in biodiversity, and soil organisms play pivotal roles in supporting terrestrial life, but the role that individual plants and plant communities play in influencing the diversity and functioning of soil food webs remains highly debated. Plants, as primary producers and

  7. Divergent composition but similar function of soil food webs beneath individual plants: plant species and community effects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bezemer, T.M.; Fountain, M.T.; Barea, J.M.; Christensen, S.; Dekker, S.C.; Duyts, H.; van Hal, R.; Harvey, J.A.; Hedlund, K.; Maraun, M.; Mikola, J.; Mladenov, A.G.; Robin, C.; de Ruiter, P.C.; Scheu, S.; Setälä, H.; Milauer, P.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2010-01-01

    Soils are extremely rich in biodiversity, and soil organisms play pivotal roles in supporting terrestrial life, but the role that individual plants and plant communities play in influencing the diversity and functioning of soil food webs remains highly debated. Plants, as primary producers and

  8. Homogenization of the soil surface following fire in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carleton S. White

    2011-01-01

    Semiarid grasslands accumulate soil beneath plant "islands" that are raised above bare interspaces. This fine-scale variation in microtopographic relief is plant-induced and is increased with shrub establishment. Research found that fire-induced water repellency enhanced local-scale soil erosion that reduced variation in microtopographic relief, suggesting...

  9. Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Thomas E.; Maron, John L.

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of climate change to declining populations of organisms remains a question of outstanding concern. Much attention to declining populations has focused on how changing climate drives phenological mismatches between animals and their food. Effects of climate on plant communities may provide an alternative, but particularly powerful, influence on animal populations because plants provide their habitats. Here, we show that abundances of deciduous trees and associated songbirds have declined with decreasing snowfall over 22 years of study in montane Arizona, USA. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that declining snowfall indirectly influences plants and associated birds by allowing greater over-winter herbivory by elk (Cervus canadensis). We excluded elk from one of two paired snowmelt drainages (10 ha per drainage), and replicated this paired experiment across three distant canyons. Over six years, we reversed multi-decade declines in plant and bird populations by experimentally inhibiting heavy winter herbivory associated with declining snowfall. Moreover, predation rates on songbird nests decreased in exclosures, despite higher abundances of nest predators, demonstrating the over-riding importance of habitat quality to avian recruitment. Thus, our results suggest that climate impacts on plant–animal interactions can have forceful ramifying effects on plants, birds, and ecological interactions.

  10. Plant Communities Rather than Soil Properties Structure Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities along Primary Succession on a Mine Spoil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krüger, Claudia; Kohout, Petr; Janoušková, Martina; Püschel, David; Frouz, Jan; Rydlová, Jana

    2017-01-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) community assembly during primary succession has so far received little attention. It remains therefore unclear, which of the factors, driving AMF community composition, are important during ecosystem development. We addressed this question on a large spoil heap, which provides a mosaic of sites in different successional stages under different managements. We selected 24 sites of c. 12, 20, 30, or 50 years in age, including sites with spontaneously developing vegetation and sites reclaimed by alder plantations. On each site, we sampled twice a year roots of the perennial rhizomatous grass Calamagrostis epigejos (Poaceae) to determine AMF root colonization and diversity (using 454-sequencing), determined the soil chemical properties and composition of plant communities. AMF taxa richness was unaffected by site age, but AMF composition variation increased along the chronosequences. AMF communities were unaffected by soil chemistry, but related to the composition of neighboring plant communities of the sampled C. epigejos plants. In contrast, the plant communities of the sites were more distinctively structured than the AMF communities along the four successional stages. We conclude that AMF and plant community successions respond to different factors. AMF communities seem to be influenced by biotic rather than by abiotic factors and to diverge with successional age. PMID:28473828

  11. Comparing herbaceous plant communities in active and passive riparian restoration.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elise S Gornish

    Full Text Available Understanding the efficacy of passive (reduction or cessation of environmental stress and active (typically involving planting or seeding restoration strategies is important for the design of successful revegetation of degraded riparian habitat, but studies explicitly comparing restoration outcomes are uncommon. We sampled the understory herbaceous plant community of 103 riparian sites varying in age since restoration (0 to 39 years and revegetation technique (active, passive, or none to compare the utility of different approaches on restoration success across sites. We found that landform type, percent shade, and summer flow helped explain differences in the understory functional community across all sites. In passively restored sites, grass and forb cover and richness were inversely related to site age, but in actively restored sites forb cover and richness were inversely related to site age. Native cover and richness were lower with passive restoration compared to active restoration. Invasive species cover and richness were not significantly different across sites. Although some of our results suggest that active restoration would best enhance native species in degraded riparian areas, this work also highlights some of the context-dependency that has been found to mediate restoration outcomes. For example, since the effects of passive restoration can be quite rapid, this approach might be more useful than active restoration in situations where rapid dominance of pioneer species is required to arrest major soil loss through erosion. As a result, we caution against labeling one restoration technique as better than another. Managers should identify ideal restoration outcomes in the context of historic and current site characteristics (as well as a range of acceptable alternative states and choose restoration approaches that best facilitate the achievement of revegetation goals.

  12. Humans as long-distance dispersers of rural plant communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alistair G Auffret

    Full Text Available Humans are known for their capacity to disperse organisms long distances. Long-distance dispersal can be important for species threatened by habitat destruction, but research into human-mediated dispersal is often focused upon few and/or invasive species. Here we use citizen science to identify the capacity for humans to disperse seeds on their clothes and footwear from a known species pool in a valuable habitat, allowing for an assessment of the fraction and types of species dispersed by humans in an alternative context. We collected material from volunteers cutting 48 species-rich meadows throughout Sweden. We counted 24,354 seeds of 197 species, representing 34% of the available species pool, including several rare and protected species. However, 71 species (36% are considered invasive elsewhere in the world. Trait analysis showed that seeds with hooks or other appendages were more likely to be dispersed by humans, as well as those with a persistent seed bank. More activity in a meadow resulted in more dispersal, both in terms of species and representation of the source communities. Average potential dispersal distances were measured at 13 km. We consider humans capable seed dispersers, transporting a significant proportion of the plant communities in which they are active, just like more traditional vectors such as livestock. When rural populations were larger, people might have been regular and effective seed dispersers, and the net rural-urban migration resulting in a reduction in humans in the landscape may have exacerbated the dispersal failure evident in declining plant populations today. With the fragmentation of habitat and changes in land use resulting from agricultural change, and the increased mobility of humans worldwide, the dispersal role of humans may have shifted from providers of regular local and landscape dispersal to providers of much rarer long-distance and regional dispersal, and international invasion.

  13. Importance of dispersal and thermal environment for mycorrhizal communities: lessons from Yellowstone National Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lekberg, Ylva; Meadow, James; Rohr, Jason R; Redecker, Dirk; Zabinski, Catherine A

    2011-06-01

    The relative importance of dispersal and niche restrictions remains a controversial topic in community ecology, especially for microorganisms that are often assumed to be ubiquitous. We investigated the impact of these factors for the community assembly of the root-symbiont arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by sampling roots from geothermal and nonthermal grasslands in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), followed by sequencing and RFLP of AMF ribosomal DNA. With the exception of an apparent generalist RFLP type closely related to Glomus intraradices, a distance-based redundancy analysis indicated that the AMF community composition correlated with soil pH or pH-driven changes in soil chemistry. This was unexpected, given the large differences in soil temperature and plant community composition between the geothermal and nonthermal grasslands. RFLP types were found in either the acidic geothermal grasslands or in the neutral to alkaline grasslands, one of which was geothermal. The direct effect of the soil chemical environment on the distribution of two AMF morphospecies isolated from acidic geothermal grasslands was supported in a controlled greenhouse experiment. Paraglomus occultum and Scutellospora pellucida were more beneficial to plants and formed significantly more spores when grown in acidic than in alkaline soil. Distance among grasslands, used as an estimate of dispersal limitations, was not a significant predictor of AMF community similarity within YNP, and most fungal taxa may be part of a metacommunity. The isolation of several viable AMF taxa from bison feces indicates that wide-ranging bison could be a vector for at least some RFLP types among grasslands within YNP. In support of classical niche theory and the Baas-Becking hypothesis, our results suggest that AMF are not limited by dispersal at the scale of YNP, but that the soil environment appears to be the primary factor affecting community composition and distribution.

  14. Phylogenetic composition of host plant communities drives plant-herbivore food web structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volf, Martin; Pyszko, Petr; Abe, Tomokazu; Libra, Martin; Kotásková, Nela; Šigut, Martin; Kumar, Rajesh; Kaman, Ondřej; Butterill, Philip T; Šipoš, Jan; Abe, Haruka; Fukushima, Hiroaki; Drozd, Pavel; Kamata, Naoto; Murakami, Masashi; Novotny, Vojtech

    2017-05-01

    Insects tend to feed on related hosts. The phylogenetic composition of host plant communities thus plays a prominent role in determining insect specialization, food web structure, and diversity. Previous studies showed a high preference of insect herbivores for congeneric and confamilial hosts suggesting that some levels of host plant relationships may play more prominent role that others. We aim to quantify the effects of host phylogeny on the structure of quantitative plant-herbivore food webs. Further, we identify specific patterns in three insect guilds with different life histories and discuss the role of host plant phylogeny in maintaining their diversity. We studied herbivore assemblages in three temperate forests in Japan and the Czech Republic. Sampling from a canopy crane, a cherry picker and felled trees allowed a complete census of plant-herbivore interactions within three 0·1 ha plots for leaf chewing larvae, miners, and gallers. We analyzed the effects of host phylogeny by comparing the observed food webs with randomized models of host selection. Larval leaf chewers exhibited high generality at all three sites, whereas gallers and miners were almost exclusively monophagous. Leaf chewer generality dropped rapidly when older host lineages (5-80 myr) were collated into a single lineage but only decreased slightly when the most closely related congeneric hosts were collated. This shows that leaf chewer generality has been maintained by feeding on confamilial hosts while only a few herbivores were shared between more distant plant lineages and, surprisingly, between some congeneric hosts. In contrast, miner and galler generality was maintained mainly by the terminal nodes of the host phylogeny and dropped immediately after collating congeneric hosts into single lineages. We show that not all levels of host plant phylogeny are equal in their effect on structuring plant-herbivore food webs. In the case of generalist guilds, it is the phylogeny of deeper

  15. Plant pathogens structure arthropod communities across multiple spatial and temporal scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tack, A.J.M.; Dicke, M.

    2013-01-01

    Plant pathogens and herbivores frequently co-occur on the same host plants. Despite this, little is known about the impact of their interactions on the structure of plant-based ecological communities. Here, we synthesize evidence that indicates that plant pathogens may profoundly impact arthropod

  16. Pesticides from wastewater treatment plant effluents affect invertebrate communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Münze, Ronald; Hannemann, Christin; Orlinskiy, Polina; Gunold, Roman; Paschke, Albrecht; Foit, Kaarina; Becker, Jeremias; Kaske, Oliver; Paulsson, Elin; Peterson, Märit; Jernstedt, Henrik; Kreuger, Jenny; Schüürmann, Gerrit; Liess, Matthias

    2017-12-01

    We quantified pesticide contamination and its ecological impact up- and downstream of seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in rural and suburban areas of central Germany. During two sampling campaigns, time-weighted average pesticide concentrations (c TWA ) were obtained using Chemcatcher® passive samplers; pesticide peak concentrations were quantified with event-driven samplers. At downstream sites, receiving waters were additionally grab sampled for five selected pharmaceuticals. Ecological effects on macroinvertebrate structure and ecosystem function were assessed using the biological indicator system SPEAR pesticides (SPEcies At Risk) and leaf litter breakdown rates, respectively. WWTP effluents substantially increased insecticide and fungicide concentrations in receiving waters; in many cases, treated wastewater was the exclusive source for the neonicotinoid insecticides acetamiprid and imidacloprid in the investigated streams. During the ten weeks of the investigation, five out of the seven WWTPs increased in-stream pesticide toxicity by a factor of three. As a consequence, at downstream sites, SPEAR values and leaf litter degradation rates were reduced by 40% and 53%, respectively. The reduced leaf litter breakdown was related to changes in the macroinvertebrate communities described by SPEAR pesticides and not to altered microbial activity. Neonicotinoids showed the highest ecological relevance for the composition of invertebrate communities, occasionally exceeding the Regulatory Acceptable Concentrations (RACs). In general, considerable ecological effects of insecticides were observed above and below regulatory thresholds. Fungicides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals contributed only marginally to acute toxicity. We conclude that pesticide retention of WWTPs needs to be improved. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Response of predominant soil bacteria to grassland succession as monitored by ribosomal RNA analyses

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Felske, A.

    1999-01-01

    The research described in this thesis was aimed to provide insight into the effects of grassland succession on the composition of the soil bacteria community in the Drentse A agricultural research area. The Drentse A meadows represent grassland succession at different stages. Since 30 years

  18. Spatial patterns of grasses and shrubs in an arid grassland environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    In the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico and New Mexico, shrub invasion is a common problem, and once-abundant grassland ecosystems are being replaced by shrub-dominated habitat. The spatial arrangement of grasses and shrubs in these arid grasslands can provide better insight into community dynamics and c...

  19. Plant community structure in an oligohaline tidal marsh

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brewer, J.S.; Grace, J.B.

    1990-01-01

    An oligohaline tidal marsh on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, LA was characterized with respect to the distributions and abundances of plant species over spatial and temporal gradients using Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA). In addition, the species distributions were correlated to several physical environmental factors using Detrended Canonical Correspondence Analysis (DCCA). The distributions of species were best correlated with distance from Lake Pontchartrain, and to a lesser extent with elevation and substrate organic matter. They were least correlated with mean soil salinity (referred to here as background salinity). Of the three mid-seasonal dominant species, the perennial grass, Spartina patens, is the most salt tolerant and was found closest to the lake. Further inland the dominant perennial was Sagittaria lancifolia, which has a salt tolerance less than that of Spartina patens. The perennial sedge, Cladium jamaicense, which is the least salt tolerant of the three, was dominant furthest inland. Background salinity levels were generally low (interactions likely also play a role in structuring the plant community. The distributions of several annuals depended on the size and life history of the mid-seasonal dominant perennials. Most of the annuals frequently co-occurred with Sagittaria lancifolia, which was the shortest in stature and had the least persistent canopy of the three mid-seasonal dominant perennials.

  20. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wen

    Full Text Available The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC, and soil total nitrogen (TN were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  1. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Lu; Dong, Shikui; Li, Yuanyuan; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jianjun; Wang, Yanlong; Liu, Demei; Ma, Yushou

    2013-01-01

    The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC), and soil total nitrogen (TN) were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe) were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  2. Soil Aggregate Stability and Grassland Productivity Associations in a Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kurt O Reinhart

    Full Text Available Soil aggregate stability data are often predicted to be positively associated with measures of plant productivity, rangeland health, and ecosystem functioning. Here we revisit the hypothesis that soil aggregate stability is positively associated with plant productivity. We measured local (plot-to-plot variation in grassland community composition, plant (aboveground biomass, root biomass, % water-stable soil aggregates, and topography. After accounting for spatial autocorrelation, we observed a negative association between % water-stable soil aggregates (0.25-1 and 1-2 mm size classes of macroaggregates and dominant graminoid biomass, and negative associations between the % water-stable aggregates and the root biomass of a dominant sedge (Carex filifolia. However, variation in total root biomass (0-10 or 0-30 cm depths was either negatively or not appreciably associated with soil aggregate stabilities. Overall, regression slope coefficients were consistently negative thereby indicating the general absence of a positive association between measures of plant productivity and soil aggregate stability for the study area. The predicted positive association between factors was likely confounded by variation in plant species composition. Specifically, sampling spanned a local gradient in plant community composition which was likely driven by niche partitioning along a subtle gradient in elevation. Our results suggest an apparent trade-off between some measures of plant biomass production and soil aggregate stability, both known to affect the land's capacity to resist erosion. These findings further highlight the uncertainty of plant biomass-soil stability associations.

  3. Mineralogical composition changes of postagrogenic soils under different plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Churilin, Nikita; Chizhikova, Natalia; Varlamov, Evgheni; Churilina, Alexandra

    2017-04-01

    Plant communities play the leading role in transformation of soil. The need of studying former arable lands increases due to large number of abandoned lands in Russia. It is necessary to study mineralogical composition of soils involved into natural processes to understand the trends of their development after agricultural activities in the past. The aim of the study is to identify changes in mineralogical composition of soils under the influence of different plant communities. Soils were sampled in the south of Arkhangelsk region, Ustyansky district, near Akichkin Pochinok village. Soils are formed on clay moraine of Moscow glaciation. Soil profiles were dug on interfluve. We selected 4 plant communities on different stages of succession: upland meadow with domination of sod grasses (Phleum pratense, Agrostis tenuis), 16-year-old birch forest where dominants are herbaceous plants such as Poa sp., Chamerion angustiflium, Agrostis tenuis, 16-year-old spruce forest with no herbaceous vegetation and 70-year-old bilberry spruce forest with domination of Vaccinium myrtillus and Vaccinium vitis-idaea. To separate soil fractions mineral content. We noticed a clear differentiation of studied soils both in the content of fraction and composition of minerals. Mineralogical composition and major mineral phases correlation of profiles under 70 years and 16 years of spruce forests are different. Mineralogical content in upper part of profile under the young spruce is more differentiated than in old spruce forest: the amount of quartz and kaolinite increases in upper horizon, although in this case the overall pattern of profile formation of clay material during podzolization remains unchanged. There is more substantial desilting under the birch forest, compared with profile under the spruce of same age within top 50 cm. Under the meadow vegetation we've discovered differentiation in mineral composition. Upper horizons contain smectite phase and differ from the underlying

  4. The Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG in 2016–2017

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Venn Stephen

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG from mid-2016 through to the end of 2017. During this period, the 13th Eurasian Grassland Conference took place in Sighişoara, Romania, and the 14th conference was held in Riga, Latvia. The 10th EDGG Field Workshop on Biodiversity patterns across a precipitation gradient in the Central Apennine mountains was conducted in the Central Apennines, Italy, this time in addition to multi-scale sampling of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, also including one animal group (leaf hoppers. Apart from the quarterly issues of its own electronic journal (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group, EDGG also finalised five grassland-related Special Features/Issues during the past 1.5 years in the following international journals: Applied Vegetation Science, Biodiversity and Conservation, Phytocoenologia, Tuexenia and Hacquetia. Beyond that, EDGG facilitated various national and supra-national vegetationplot databases of grasslands and established its own specialised database for standardised multi-scale plot data of Palaearctic grasslands (GrassPlot.

  5. The effects of black-tailed prairie dogs on plant communities within a complex urban landscape: an ecological surprise?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beals, Stower C; Hartley, Laurel M; Prevéy, Janet S; Seastedt, Timothy R

    2014-05-01

    Historically, prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been considered essential keystone species of western United States grassland ecosystems because they provide unique services and increase vegetation community richness, evenness, and diversity. However, the effects of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on lands adjacent to or surrounded by urban areas may not result in the same ecosystem benefits historically associated with their presence. An urban landscape presents prairie dogs with movement challenges unparalleled in natural landscapes, as well as suites of nonnative plant species that are more common in disturbed areas. This study examined a complex ecosystem where vegetation communities are being influenced by directional environmental change, and quantified the synergistic effects resulting from the protective management of a native keystone species. The data set for this analysis was comprised of 71 paired (occupied by prairie dogs vs. unoccupied) vegetation surveys and 156 additional unpaired surveys collected from around the city of Boulder, Colorado, USA for 14 yr. Linear mixed models were used to compare data from transects occupied and unoccupied by prairie dogs, as well as to evaluate the effect of prairie dog occupation duration. In the absence of prairie dogs, vegetation in this region exhibited declines in native grasses, no changes in introduced grasses, and increases in native and nonnative forbs and bare soil over the study interval. In the presence of prairie dogs, these observed directional changes were nearly all amplified at rates four to 10 times greater than when prairie dogs were absent. Areas in Boulder occupied by prairie dogs also had significantly lower richness, evenness, and diversity of plant species, compared to unoccupied areas. Analysis of plant functional groups revealed the significant reduction of perennial native grasses, as well as a significantly higher cover of introduced forbs in occupied areas. Prairie dogs

  6. Plant functional traits and canopy structure control the relationship between photosynthetic CO2 uptake and far-red sun-induced fluorescence in a Mediterranean grassland under different nutrient availability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Migliavacca, Mirco; Perez-Priego, Oscar; Rossini, Micol; El-Madany, Tarek S; Moreno, Gerardo; van der Tol, Christiaan; Rascher, Uwe; Berninger, Anna; Bessenbacher, Verena; Burkart, Andreas; Carrara, Arnaud; Fava, Francesco; Guan, Jin-Hong; Hammer, Tiana W; Henkel, Kathrin; Juarez-Alcalde, Enrique; Julitta, Tommaso; Kolle, Olaf; Martín, M Pilar; Musavi, Talie; Pacheco-Labrador, Javier; Pérez-Burgueño, Andrea; Wutzler, Thomas; Zaehle, Sönke; Reichstein, Markus

    2017-05-01

    Sun-induced fluorescence (SIF) in the far-red region provides a new noninvasive measurement approach that has the potential to quantify dynamic changes in light-use efficiency and gross primary production (GPP). However, the mechanistic link between GPP and SIF is not completely understood. We analyzed the structural and functional factors controlling the emission of SIF at 760 nm (F 760 ) in a Mediterranean grassland manipulated with nutrient addition of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) or nitrogen-phosphorous (NP). Using the soil-canopy observation of photosynthesis and energy (SCOPE) model, we investigated how nutrient-induced changes in canopy structure (i.e. changes in plant forms abundance that influence leaf inclination distribution function, LIDF) and functional traits (e.g. N content in dry mass of leaves, N%, Chlorophyll a+b concentration (Cab) and maximum carboxylation capacity (V cmax )) affected the observed linear relationship between F 760 and GPP. We conclude that the addition of nutrients imposed a change in the abundance of different plant forms and biochemistry of the canopy that controls F 760 . Changes in canopy structure mainly control the GPP-F 760 relationship, with a secondary effect of Cab and V cmax . In order to exploit F 760 data to model GPP at the global/regional scale, canopy structural variability, biodiversity and functional traits are important factors that have to be considered. © 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  7. Plant traits determine the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-García, Álvaro; Varela-Cervero, Sara; Vasar, Martti; Öpik, Maarja; Barea, José M; Azcón-Aguilar, Concepción

    2017-12-01

    Functional diversity in ecosystems has traditionally been studied using aboveground plant traits. Despite the known effect of plant traits on the microbial community composition, their effects on the microbial functional diversity are only starting to be assessed. In this study, the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities associated with plant species differing in life cycle and growth form, that is, plant life forms, was determined to unravel the effect of plant traits on the functional diversity of this fungal group. The results of the 454 pyrosequencing showed that the AM fungal community composition differed across plant life forms and this effect was dependent on the soil collection date. Plants with ruderal characteristics tended to associate with phylogenetically clustered AM fungal communities. By contrast, plants with resource-conservative traits associated with phylogenetically overdispersed AM fungal communities. Additionally, the soil collected in different seasons yielded AM fungal communities with different phylogenetic dispersion. In summary, we found that the phylogenetic structure, and hence the functional diversity, of AM fungal communities is dependent on plant traits. This finding adds value to the use of plant traits for the evaluation of belowground ecosystem diversity, functions and processes. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Using the North American Breeding Bird Survey to assess broad-scale response of the continent's most imperiled avian community, grassland birds, to weather variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gorzo, Jessica; Pidgeon, Anna M.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Allstadt, Andrew J.; Radeloff, Volker C.; Heglund, Patricia J.; Vavrus, Stephen J.

    2016-01-01

    Avian populations can respond dramatically to extreme weather such as droughts and heat waves, yet patterns of response to weather at broad scales remain largely unknown. Our goal was to evaluate annual variation in abundance of 14 grassland bird species breeding in the northern mixed-grass prairie in relation to annual variation in precipitation and temperature. We modeled avian abundance during the breeding season using North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data for the U.S. Badlands and Prairies Bird Conservation Region (BCR 17) from 1980 to 2012. We used hierarchical Bayesian methods to fit models and estimate the candidate weather parameters standardized precipitation index (SPI) and standardized temperature index (STI) for the same year and the previous year. Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) responded positively to within-year STI (β = 0.101), and Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) responded negatively to within-year STI (β = −0.161) and positively to within-year SPI (β = 0.195). The parameter estimates were superficially similar (STI β = −0.075, SPI β = 0.11) for Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), but the best-selected model included an interaction between SPI and STI. The best model for both Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) included the additive effects of within-year SPI (β = −0.032 and β = −0.054, respectively) and the previous-year's SPI (β = −0.057 and −0.02, respectively), although for Vesper Sparrow the lag effect was insignificant. With projected warmer, drier weather during summer in the Badlands and Prairies BCR, Baird's and Grasshopper sparrows may be especially threatened by future climate change.

  9. Reduced germination success of temperate grassland seeds sown in dung: consequences for post-dispersal seed fate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milotić, T; Hoffmann, M

    2016-11-01

    Endozoochory is one of the main drivers shaping temperate grassland communities by maintaining plant populations of its constituents and enabling plants to colonize new habitats. Successful endozoochorous dispersal implies that seeds not only get consumed and survive the digestive tract but are also able to develop into viable seedlings in a dung environment. We experimentally assessed the germination probability and timing of 15 annual and perennial temperate European grassland species in cattle and horse dung and in different climatic conditions (greenhouse and outdoor conditions). Interspecific variation in germinability and germination timing are found, while life strategy had only an effect on germination timing. We found adverse effects of both cattle and horse dung on the germination characteristics of all tested grassland species, but the effects of cattle dung were more pronounced. In comparison with the control treatment, fewer seeds emerged in dung and more time was needed to germinate. Also, germination metrics clearly differed between the artificial greenhouse and outdoor conditions, with generally a lower germinability in outdoor conditions. According to our results, a large cost seems to be associated with endozoochorous dispersal in this stage of the life cycle, as seed dispersal effectiveness strongly depends on the quality of the deposition site with a lowered survival and germination probability when seeds are deposited in dung. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  10. Alien roadside species more easily invade alpine than lowland plant communities in a subarctic mountain ecosystem.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonas J Lembrechts

    Full Text Available Effects of roads on plant communities are not well known in cold-climate mountain ecosystems, where road building and development are expected to increase in future decades. Knowledge of the sensitivity of mountain plant communities to disturbance by roads is however important for future conservation purposes. We investigate the effects of roads on species richness and composition, including the plant strategies that are most affected, along three elevational gradients in a subarctic mountain ecosystem. We also examine whether mountain roads promote the introduction and invasion of alien plant species from the lowlands to the alpine zone. Observations of plant community composition were made together with abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors in 60 T-shaped transects. Alpine plant communities reacted differently to road disturbances than their lowland counterparts. On high elevations, the roadside species composition was more similar to that of the local natural communities. Less competitive and ruderal species were present at high compared with lower elevation roadsides. While the effects of roads thus seem to be mitigated in the alpine environment for plant species in general, mountain plant communities are more invasible than lowland communities. More precisely, relatively more alien species present in the roadside were found to invade into the surrounding natural community at high compared to low elevations. We conclude that effects of roads and introduction of alien species in lowlands cannot simply be extrapolated to the alpine and subarctic environment.

  11. Alien roadside species more easily invade alpine than lowland plant communities in a subarctic mountain ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lembrechts, Jonas J; Milbau, Ann; Nijs, Ivan

    2014-01-01

    Effects of roads on plant communities are not well known in cold-climate mountain ecosystems, where road building and development are expected to increase in future decades. Knowledge of the sensitivity of mountain plant communities to disturbance by roads is however important for future conservation purposes. We investigate the effects of roads on species richness and composition, including the plant strategies that are most affected, along three elevational gradients in a subarctic mountain ecosystem. We also examine whether mountain roads promote the introduction and invasion of alien plant species from the lowlands to the alpine zone. Observations of plant community composition were made together with abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors in 60 T-shaped transects. Alpine plant communities reacted differently to road disturbances than their lowland counterparts. On high elevations, the roadside species composition was more similar to that of the local natural communities. Less competitive and ruderal species were present at high compared with lower elevation roadsides. While the effects of roads thus seem to be mitigated in the alpine environment for plant species in general, mountain plant communities are more invasible than lowland communities. More precisely, relatively more alien species present in the roadside were found to invade into the surrounding natural community at high compared to low elevations. We conclude that effects of roads and introduction of alien species in lowlands cannot simply be extrapolated to the alpine and subarctic environment.

  12. Restructuring of endophytic bacterial communities in grapevine yellows-diseased and recovered Vitis vinifera L. plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bulgari, Daniela; Casati, Paola; Crepaldi, Paola; Daffonchio, Daniele; Quaglino, Fabio; Brusetti, Lorenzo; Bianco, Piero Attilio

    2011-07-01

    Length heterogeneity-PCR assays, combined with statistical analyses, highlighted that the endophytic bacterial community associated with healthy grapevines was characterized by a greater diversity than that present in diseased and recovered plants. The findings suggest that phytoplasmas can restructure the bacterial community by selecting endophytic strains that could elicit a plant defense response.

  13. A Post Licensing Study of Community Effects at Two Operating Nuclear Power Plants. Final Report.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purdy, Bruce J.; And Others

    In an effort to identify and assess the social, economic, and political effects of nuclear power plant construction and operation upon two host communities (Plymouth, Massachusetts and Waterford, Connecticut), a post-licensing review revealed that the primary impact of the nuclear power plants in both communities was an increase in the property…

  14. Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Timmers, R.A.; Rothballer, M.; Strik, D.P.B.T.B.; Engel, M.; Schulz, M.; Hartmann, A.; Hamelers, H.V.M.; Buisman, C.J.N.

    2012-01-01

    The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology in which living plant roots provide electron donor, via rhizodeposition, to a mixed microbial community to generate electricity in a microbial fuel cell. Analysis and localisation of the microbial community is necessary for gaining insight into

  15. Effects of plant diversity on primary production and species interactions in brackish water angiosperm communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Salo, Tiina; Gustafsson, Camilla; Boström, Christoffer

    2009-01-01

    Research on plant biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has mainly focused on terrestrial ecosystems, and our understanding of how plant species diversity and interactions affect processes in marine ecosystems is still limited. To investigate if plant species richness and composition influence...... plant productivity in brackish water angiosperm communities, a 14 wk field experiment was conducted. Using a replacement design with a standardized initial aboveground biomass, shoots of Zostera marina, Potamogeton filiformis and P. perfoliatus were planted on a shallow, sandy bottom in replicated...

  16. Links between plant and fungal communities across a deforestation chronosequence in the Amazon rainforest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Rebecca C; Paula, Fabiana S; Mirza, Babur S; Rodrigues, Jorge L M; Nüsslein, Klaus; Bohannan, Brendan J M

    2014-07-01

    Understanding the interactions among microbial communities, plant communities and soil properties following deforestation could provide insights into the long-term effects of land-use change on ecosystem functions, and may help identify approaches that promote the recovery of degraded sites. We combined high-throughput sequencing of fungal rDNA and molecular barcoding of plant roots to estimate fungal and plant community composition in soil sampled across a chronosequence of deforestation. We found significant effects of land-use change on fungal community composition, which was more closely correlated to plant community composition than to changes in soil properties or geographic distance, providing evidence for strong links between above- and below-ground communities in tropical forests.

  17. Changing expectations: a longitudinal study of community attitudes toward a nuclear power plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hughey, J.B.; Lounsbury, J.W.; Sundstrom, E.; Mattingly, T.J. Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Initial and 5-year follow-up interviews were conducted with 213 residents of the host community for a nuclear power plant. The purpose was to determine possible changes in attitudes toward the plant and expectations about potential outcomes associated with construction. Large negative changes in attitudes toward the plant were noted and were accompanied most notably by decreased expectations of positive outcomes. The structure of the expectations remained essentially stable over the 5-year period. Perceptions of hazards, community disruption, and economic benefits as measured early in construction and during peak construction were found to be the best predictors of acceptance of the nuclear plant. Initial expectations were found to predict overall attitude toward the plant 5 years later. Results were discussed in terms of implications for social impact assessment, large-scale community change, and the predictability of community attitudes toward nuclear power plant construction

  18. Effects of diversity and identity of the neighbouring plant community on the abundance of arthropods on individual ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kostenko, O.; Grootemaat, Saskia S.; Van der Putten, W.H.; Bezemer, T.M.

    2012-01-01

    The diversity of plant community can greatly affect the abundance and diversity of arthropods associated to that community, but can also influence the composition or abundance of arthropods on individual plants growing in that community. We sampled arthropods and recorded plant size of individual

  19. Short-term bioavailability of carbon in soil organic matter fractions of different particle sizes and densities in grassland ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breulmann, Marc; Masyutenko, Nina Petrovna; Kogut, Boris Maratovich; Schroll, Reiner; Dörfler, Ulrike; Buscot, François; Schulz, Elke

    2014-11-01

    The quality, stability and availability of organic carbon (OC) in soil organic matter (SOM) can vary widely between differently managed ecosystems. Several approaches have been developed for isolating SOM fractions to examine their ecological roles, but links between the bioavailability of the OC of size-density fractions and soil microbial communities have not been previously explored. Thus, in the presented laboratory study we investigated the potential bioavailability of OC and the structure of associated microbial communities in different particle-size and density fractions of SOM. For this we used samples from four grassland ecosystems with contrasting management intensity regimes and two soil types: a Haplic Cambisol and a typical Chernozem. A combined size-density fractionation protocol was applied to separate clay-associated SOM fractions (CF1, <1 μm; CF2, 1-2 μm) from light SOM fractions (LF1, <1.8 g cm(-3); LF2, 1.8-2.0 g cm(-3)). These fractions were used as carbon sources in a respiration experiment to determine their potential bioavailability. Measured CO2-release was used as an index of substrate accessibility and linked to the soil microbial community structure, as determined by phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis. Several key factors controlling decomposition processes, and thus the potential bioavailability of OC, were identified: management intensity and the plant community composition of the grasslands (both of which affect the chemical composition and turnover of OC) and specific properties of individual SOM fractions. The PLFA patterns highlighted differences in the composition of microbial communities associated with the examined grasslands, and SOM fractions, providing the first broad insights into their active microbial communities. From observed interactions between abiotic and biotic factors affecting the decomposition of SOM fractions we demonstrate that increasing management intensity could enhance the potential bioavailability of

  20. The role of biotic interactions in plant community assembly: What is the community species pool?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Švamberková, Eva; Vítová, Alena; Lepš, Jan

    2017-11-01

    Differences in plant species composition between a community and its species pool are considered to reflect the effect of community filters. If we define the species pool as a set of species able to reach a site and form a viable population in a given abiotic environment (i.e. to pass the dispersal and abiotic filter), the difference in species composition should correspond to the effect of biotic interactions. However, most of the operational definitions of the species pool are based on co-occurrence patterns and thus also reflect the effect of biotic relationships, including definitions based on functional plant traits, Ellenberg indicator values or Beals index. We conducted two seed introduction experiments in an oligotrophic wet meadow with the aim of demonstrating that many species excluded, according to the above definitions, from a species pool are in fact able to establish there successfully if competition is removed. In sowing experiments, we studied the establishment and survival of species after the removal of competition (i.e. in artificial gaps) and in intact vegetation. We also investigated inter-annual variability of seed germination and seedling establishment and competitive exclusion of sown species. The investigated species also included those from very different habitats (i.e. species with very low corresponding Beals index or Ellenberg indicator values that were different from the target community weighted mean). Many of these species were able to grow in the focal wet meadow if competition was removed, but they did not establish and survive in the intact community. These species are thus not limited by abiotic conditions, but by the biotic filter. We also recorded a great inter-annual variability in seed germination and seedling establishment. Competitive exclusion of species with different ecological requirements could be quite fast (one and half seasons) in some species, but some non-resident species were able to survive several seasons; the

  1. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Tao; Melcher, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant's growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species.

  2. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tao Ding

    Full Text Available Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant's growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species.

  3. Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell

    OpenAIRE

    Timmers, R.A.; Rothballer, M.; Strik, D.P.B.T.B.; Engel, M.; Schulz, M.; Hartmann, A.; Hamelers, H.V.M.; Buisman, C.J.N.

    2012-01-01

    The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology in which living plant roots provide electron donor, via rhizodeposition, to a mixed microbial community to generate electricity in a microbial fuel cell. Analysis and localisation of the microbial community is necessary for gaining insight into the competition for electron donor in a PMFC. This paper characterises the anode-rhizosphere bacterial community of a Glyceria maxima (reed mannagrass) PMFC. Electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) w...

  4. Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell

    OpenAIRE

    Timmers, Ruud A.; Rothballer, Michael; Strik, David P. B. T. B.; Engel, Marion; Schulz, Stephan; Schloter, Michael; Hartmann, Anton; Hamelers, Bert; Buisman, Cees

    2012-01-01

    The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology in which living plant roots provide electron donor, via rhizodeposition, to a mixed microbial community to generate electricity in a microbial fuel cell. Analysis and localisation of the microbial community is necessary for gaining insight into the competition for electron donor in a PMFC. This paper characterises the anode–rhizosphere bacterial community of a Glyceria maxima (reed mannagrass) PMFC. Electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) w...

  5. Disentangling the Effects of Precipitation Amount and Frequency on the Performance of 14 Grassland Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Didiano, Teresa J.; Johnson, Marc T. J.; Duval, Tim P.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is causing shifts in the amount and frequency of precipitation in many regions, which is expected to have implications for plant performance. Most research has examined the impacts of the amount of precipitation on plants rather than the effects of both the amount and frequency of precipitation. To understand how climate-driven changes in precipitation can affect grassland plants, we asked: (i) How does the amount and frequency of precipitation affect plant performance? (ii) Do plant functional groups vary in their response to variable precipitation? To answer these questions we grew 14 monocot and eudicot grassland species and conducted a factorial manipulation of the amount (70 vs 90mm/month) and frequency (every 3, 15, or 30 days) of precipitation under rainout shelters. Our results show that both the amount and frequency of precipitation impact plant performance, with larger effects on eudicots than monocots. Above- and below-ground biomass were affected by the amount of precipitation and/or the interaction between the amount and frequency of precipitation. Above-ground biomass increased by 21–30% when the amount of precipitation was increased. When event frequency was decreased from 3 to 15 or 30 days, below-ground biomass generally decreased by 18–34% in the 70 mm treatment, but increased by 33–40% in the 90 mm treatment. Changes in stomatal conductance were largely driven by changes in event frequency. Our results show that it is important to consider changes in both the amount and frequency of precipitation when predicting how plant communities will respond to variable precipitation. PMID:27622497

  6. Changes in uranium plant community leaders' attitudes toward nuclear power: before and after TMI

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Winfield-Laird, I.; Hastings, M.; Cawley, M.E.

    1982-01-01

    The results of an investigation of the reactions of community leaders in nuclear power plant host communities toward nuclear power following the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) are reported. Public and private sector officials were surveyed in ten general areas covering their attitudes toward and the continued use of nuclear power as compared to other fuel types, and the reassessment of the local plant impact on different community groups and aspects of community life. Information is compared with findings from a similar study conducted with the same community leaders prior to the TMI accident. The results indicate that community leaders' attitudes remained highly favorable toward the continued use of nuclear power. Three-fourths of the sample indicated that they would probably or definitely allow the continued use of nuclear power as compared to other fuel types, and the reassessment of the local majority still view the plant presence as having a positive impact on their communities. (author)

  7. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellison, Kevin S; Ribic, Christine A; Sample, David W; Fawcett, Megan J; Dadisman, John D

    2013-01-01

    Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow) and nesting densities increased (all 3 species) in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor]) at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]). Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116) and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland ecosystems.

  8. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin S Ellison

    Full Text Available Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus] at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow and nesting densities increased (all 3 species in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor] at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]. Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116 and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland

  9. Genetics-based interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores define arthropod community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Busby, Posy E; Lamit, Louis J; Keith, Arthur R; Newcombe, George; Gehring, Catherine A; Whitham, Thomas G; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-07-01

    Plant resistance to pathogens or insect herbivores is common, but its potential for indirectly influencing plant-associated communities is poorly known. Here, we test whether pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and herbivory depend on plant resistance to pathogens and/or herbivores, and address the overarching interacting foundation species hypothesis that genetics-based interactions among a few highly interactive species can structure a much larger community. In a manipulative field experiment using replicated genotypes of two Populus species and their interspecific hybrids, we found that genetic variation in plant resistance to both pathogens and insect herbivores modulated the strength of pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and insect herbivory. First, due in part to the pathogens' differential impacts on leaf biomass among the two Populus species and the hybrids, the pathogen most strongly impacted arthropod community composition, richness, and abundance on the pathogen-susceptible tree species. Second, we found similar patterns comparing pathogen-susceptible and pathogen-resistant genotypes within species. Third, within a plant species, pathogens caused a fivefold greater reduction in herbivory on insect-herbivore-susceptible plant genotypes than on herbivore-resistant genotypes, demonstrating that the pathogen-herbivore interaction is genotype dependent. We conclude that interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores can structure multitrophic communities, supporting the interacting foundation species hypothesis. Because these interactions are genetically based, evolutionary changes in genetic resistance could result in ecological changes in associated communities, which may in turn feed back to affect plant fitness.

  10. Fire and invasive exotic plant species in eastern oak communities: an assessment of current knowledge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cynthia D. Huebner

    2006-01-01

    Successful regeneration of oak-dominated communities in the Eastern United States historically requires disturbance such as fire, making them vulnerable to invasion by exotic plants. Little is currently known about the effects of fire on invasive plant species and the effects of invasive plant species on fire regimes of this region. Seventeen common eastern invaders...

  11. Interspecific Plant Interactions Reflected in Soil Bacterial Community Structure and Nitrogen Cycling in Primary Succession.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knelman, Joseph E; Graham, Emily B; Prevéy, Janet S; Robeson, Michael S; Kelly, Patrick; Hood, Eran; Schmidt, Steve K

    2018-01-01

    Past research demonstrating the importance plant-microbe interactions as drivers of ecosystem succession has focused on how plants condition soil microbial communities, impacting subsequent plant performance and plant community assembly. These studies, however, largely treat microbial communities as a black box. In this study, we sought to examine how emblematic shifts from early successional Alnus viridus ssp. sinuata (Sitka alder) to late successional Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) in primary succession may be reflected in specific belowground changes in bacterial community structure and nitrogen cycling related to the interaction of these two plants. We examined early successional alder-conditioned soils in a glacial forefield to delineate how alders alter the soil microbial community with increasing dominance. Further, we assessed the impact of late-successional spruce plants on these early successional alder-conditioned microbiomes and related nitrogen cycling through a leachate addition microcosm experiment. We show how increasingly abundant alder select for particular bacterial taxa. Additionally, we found that spruce leachate significantly alters the composition of these microbial communities in large part by driving declines in taxa that are enriched by alder, including bacterial symbionts. We found these effects to be spruce specific, beyond a general leachate effect. Our work also demonstrates a unique influence of spruce on ammonium availability. Such insights bolster theory relating the importance of plant-microbe interactions with late-successional plants and interspecific plant interactions more generally.

  12. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, 238 Pu and 239 Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes

  13. Variation in the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of plant biomass and its relationship to water-use efficiency at the leaf- and ecosystem-scales in a northern Great Plains grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Lawrence B; Farquhar, Graham D

    2014-02-01

    Measurements of the carbon (δ(13) Cm ) and oxygen (δ(18) Om ) isotope composition of C3 plant tissue provide important insights into controls on water-use efficiency. We investigated the causes of seasonal and inter-annual variability in water-use efficiency in a grassland near Lethbridge, Canada using stable isotope (leaf-scale) and eddy covariance measurements (ecosystem-scale). The positive relationship between δ(13) Cm and δ(18) Om values for samples collected during 1998-2001 indicated that variation in stomatal conductance and water stress-induced changes in the degree of stomatal limitation of net photosynthesis were the major controls on variation in δ(13) Cm and biomass production during this time. By comparison, the lack of a significant relationship between δ(13) Cm and δ(18) Om values during 2002, 2003 and 2006 demonstrated that water stress was not a significant limitation on photosynthesis and biomass production in these years. Water-use efficiency was higher in 2000 than 1999, consistent with expectations because of greater stomatal limitation of photosynthesis and lower leaf ci /ca during the drier conditions of 2000. Calculated values of leaf-scale water-use efficiency were 2-3 times higher than ecosystem-scale water-use efficiency, a difference that was likely due to carbon lost in root respiration and water lost during soil evaporation that was not accounted for by the stable isotope measurements. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  14. Long-Term Warming Shifts the Composition of Bacterial Communities in the Phyllosphere of Galium album in a Permanent Grassland Field-Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ebru L. Aydogan

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Global warming is currently a much discussed topic with as yet largely unexplored consequences for agro-ecosystems. Little is known about the warming effect on the bacterial microbiota inhabiting the plant surface (phyllosphere, which can have a strong impact on plant growth and health, as well as on plant diseases and colonization by human pathogens. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of moderate surface warming on the diversity and composition of the bacterial leaf microbiota of the herbaceous plant Galium album. Leaves were collected from four control and four surface warmed (+2°C plots located at the field site of the Environmental Monitoring and Climate Impact Research Station Linden in Germany over a 6-year period. Warming had no effect on the concentration of total number of cells attached to the leaf surface as counted by Sybr Green I staining after detachment, but changes in the diversity and phylogenetic composition of the bacterial leaf microbiota analyzed by bacterial 16S rRNA gene Illumina amplicon sequencing were observed. The bacterial phyllosphere microbiota were dominated by Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. Warming caused a significant higher relative abundance of members of the Gammaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes, and a lower relative abundance of members of the Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Plant beneficial bacteria like Sphingomonas spp. and Rhizobium spp. occurred in significantly lower relative abundance in leaf samples of warmed plots. In contrast, several members of the Enterobacteriaceae, especially Enterobacter and Erwinia, and other potential plant or human pathogenic genera such as Acinetobacter and insect-associated Buchnera and Wolbachia spp. occurred in higher relative abundances in the phyllosphere samples from warmed plots. This study showed for the first time the long-term impact of moderate (+2°C surface warming on the phyllosphere microbiota on

  15. Effect of burn area on invertebrate recolonization in grasslands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Our study examined the short-term response of grassland invertebrate communities to fire in the South African Drakensberg, in relation to distance from the edge of a burn. We aimed to establish which species survive fire and the dynamics of the post-fire recolonization process, and thereby contribute to establishing the ...

  16. Inoculation effects on root-colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities spread beyond directly inoculated plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martina Janoušková

    Full Text Available Inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF may improve plant performance at disturbed sites, but inoculation may also suppress root colonization by native AMF and decrease the diversity of the root-colonizing AMF community. This has been shown for the roots of directly inoculated plants, but little is known about the stability of inoculation effects, and to which degree the inoculant and the inoculation-induced changes in AMF community composition spread into newly emerging seedlings that were not in direct contact with the introduced propagules. We addressed this topic in a greenhouse experiment based on the soil and native AMF community of a post-mining site. Plants were cultivated in compartmented pots with substrate containing the native AMF community, where AMF extraradical mycelium radiating from directly inoculated plants was allowed to inoculate neighboring plants. The abundances of the inoculated isolate and of native AMF taxa were monitored in the roots of the directly inoculated plants and the neighboring plants by quantitative real-time PCR. As expected, inoculation suppressed root colonization of the directly inoculated plants by other AMF taxa of the native AMF community and also by native genotypes of the same species as used for inoculation. In the neighboring plants, high abundance of the inoculant and the suppression of native AMF were maintained. Thus, we demonstrate that inoculation effects on native AMF propagate into plants that were not in direct contact with the introduced inoculum, and are therefore likely to persist at the site of inoculation.

  17. Inoculation effects on root-colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities spread beyond directly inoculated plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krak, Karol; Vosátka, Miroslav; Püschel, David; Štorchová, Helena

    2017-01-01

    Inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may improve plant performance at disturbed sites, but inoculation may also suppress root colonization by native AMF and decrease the diversity of the root-colonizing AMF community. This has been shown for the roots of directly inoculated plants, but little is known about the stability of inoculation effects, and to which degree the inoculant and the inoculation-induced changes in AMF community composition spread into newly emerging seedlings that were not in direct contact with the introduced propagules. We addressed this topic in a greenhouse experiment based on the soil and native AMF community of a post-mining site. Plants were cultivated in compartmented pots with substrate containing the native AMF community, where AMF extraradical mycelium radiating from directly inoculated plants was allowed to inoculate neighboring plants. The abundances of the inoculated isolate and of native AMF taxa were monitored in the roots of the directly inoculated plants and the neighboring plants by quantitative real-time PCR. As expected, inoculation suppressed root colonization of the directly inoculated plants by other AMF taxa of the native AMF community and also by native genotypes of the same species as used for inoculation. In the neighboring plants, high abundance of the inoculant and the suppression of native AMF were maintained. Thus, we demonstrate that inoculation effects on native AMF propagate into plants that were not in direct contact with the introduced inoculum, and are therefore likely to persist at the site of inoculation. PMID:28738069

  18. Litter Accumulation and Nutrient Content of Roadside Plant Communities in Sichuan Basin, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Huiqin; Monaco, Thomas

    2017-08-30

    It is widely recognized that feedbacks exist between plant litter and plant community species composition, but this relationship is difficult to interpret over heterogeneous conditions typical of modified environments such as roadways. Given the need to expedite natural recovery of disturbed areas through restoration interventions, we characterized litter accumulation and nutrient content (i.e., organic carbon, total N, and P) and quantified their association with key plant species. Plant species cover and litter characteristics were sampled at 18 successional forest plant communities along major roadways in Sichuan Basin, western China. Variation in litter across communities was assessed with principal component analysis (PCA) and species with the highest correlation to PCA axes were determined with Pearson's r coefficients. Plant communities with the longest time since road construction (i.e., 70 years) were distinctly different in litter total N and organic carbon compared to plant communities with a shorter disturbance history. We encountered 59 plant species across sampling plots, but only four rare species (i.e., frequency plant litter across heavily disturbed landscapes and how litter characteristics and rare plant species are correlated.

  19. Effects of the endemic earthworm .i.Allolobophora hrabei./i. (Černosvitov, 1935) on soil microbial communities of steppe grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Jirout, Jiří; Pižl, Václav

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 76, September (2014), s. 249-256 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA ČR GAP504/12/0536 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : bacteria * archaea * fungi * community composition * DGGE * earthworm Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.932, year: 2014

  20. Crude protein changes on grassland along a degradation gradient ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Evapotranspiration was determined by quantifying the soil-water balance equation with the aid of runoff plots and soil-water content measurements. Crude protein ... The study shows that it is important to keep grassland in optimal condition to utilize limited soil water for sustainable plant and therefore animal production.

  1. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Janssens, F; Peeters, A; Tallowin, JRB; Bakker, JP; Bekker, RM; Fillat, F; Oomes, MJM

    Many studies carried out during these last few years have focused on the factors influencing plant diversity in species-rich grasslands. This is due to the fact that these ecosystems, among the most diversified in temperate climates, are extremely threatened; in some areas, they have almost

  2. Grassland birds wintering at U.S. Navy facilities in southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodin, Marc C.; Skoruppa, Mary Kay; Bryan, Pearce D.; Ruddy, Amanda J.; Hickman, Graham C.

    2010-01-01

    Grassland birds have undergone widespread decline throughout North America during the past several decades. Causes of this decline include habitat loss and fragmentation because of conversion of grasslands to cropland, afforestation in the East, brush and shrub invasion in the Southwest and western United States, and planting of exotic grass species to enhance forage production. A large number of exotic plant species, including grasses, have been introduced in North America, but most research on the effects of these invasions on birds has been limited to breeding birds, primarily those in northern latitudes. Research on the effects of exotic grasses on birds in winter has been extremely limited.This is the first study in southern Texas to examine and compare winter bird responses to native and exotic grasslands. This study was conducted during a period of six years (2003–2009) on United States Navy facilities in southern Texas including Naval Air Station–Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station–Kingsville, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Waldron, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Orange Grove, and Escondido Ranch, all of which contained examples of native grasslands, exotic grasslands, or both. Data from native and exotic grasslands were collected and compared for bird abundance and diversity; ground cover, vegetation density, and floristic diversity; bird and vegetation relationships; diversity of insects and arachnids; and seed abundance and diversity. Effects of management treatments in exotic grasslands were evaluated by comparing numbers and diversity of birds and small mammals in mowed, burned, and control areas.To determine bird abundance and bird species richness, birds were surveyed monthly (December–February) during the winters of 2003–2008 in transects (100 meter × 20 meter) located in native and exotic grasslands distributed at all five U.S. Navy facilities. To compare vegetation in native and exotic grasslands, vegetation characteristics were measured

  3. Community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in undisturbed vegetation revealed by analyses of LSU rdna sequences

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rosendahl, Søren; Holtgrewe-Stukenbrock, Eva

    2004-01-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form a mutualistic symbiosis with plant roots and are found in most ecosystems. In this study the community structure of AMF in a clade of the genus Glomus was examined in undisturbed costal grassland using LSU rDNA sequences amplified from roots of Hieracium...

  4. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard R Rodrigues

    Full Text Available The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum, another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica, and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima. The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME. Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that

  5. Comparative seed germination traits in alpine and subalpine grasslands: higher elevations are associated with warmer germination temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Pascual, E; Jiménez-Alfaro, B; Bueno, Á

    2017-01-01

    Seed germination traits in alpine grasslands are poorly understood, despite the sensitivity of these communities to climate change. We hypothesise that germination traits predict species occurrence along the alpine-subalpine elevation gradient. Phylogenetic comparative analyses were performed using fresh seeds of 22 species from alpine and subalpine grasslands (1600-2400 m) of the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain (43° N, 5° W). Laboratory experiments were conducted to characterise germinability, optimum germination temperature and effect of cold and warm stratification on dormancy breaking. Variability in these traits was reduced by phylogenetic principal component analysis (phyl.PCA). Phylogenetic generalised least squares regression (PGLS) was used to fit a model in which species average elevation was predicted from their position on the PCA axes. Most subalpine species germinated in snow-like conditions, whereas most alpine species needed accumulation of warm temperatures. Phylogenetic signal was low. PCA1 ordered species according to overall germinability, whilst PCA2 ordered them according to preference for warm or cold germination. PCA2 significantly predicted species occurrence in the alpine-subalpine gradient, as higher elevation species tended to have warmer germination preferences. Our results show that germination traits in high-mountain grasslands are closely linked to the alpine-subalpine gradient. Alpine species, especially those from stripped and wind-edge communities, prefer warmer germination niches, suggesting that summer emergence prevents frost damage during seedling establishment. In contrast, alpine snowfield and subalpine grassland plants have cold germination niches, indicating that winter emergence may occur under snow to avoid drought stress. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  6. Spider Trait Assembly Patterns and Resilience under Fire-Induced Vegetation Change in South Brazilian Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Podgaiski, Luciana R.; Joner, Fernando; Lavorel, Sandra; Moretti, Marco; Ibanez, Sebastien; Mendonça, Milton de S.; Pillar, Valério D.

    2013-01-01

    Disturbances induce changes on habitat proprieties that may filter organism's functional traits thereby shaping the structure and interactions of many trophic levels. We tested if communities of predators with foraging traits dependent on habitat structure respond to environmental change through cascades affecting the functional traits of plants. We monitored the response of spider and plant communities to fire in South Brazilian Grasslands using pairs of burned and unburned plots. Spiders were determined to the family level and described in feeding behavioral and morphological traits measured on each individual. Life form and morphological traits were recorded for plant species. One month after fire the abundance of vegetation hunters and the mean size of the chelicera increased due to the presence of suitable feeding sites in the regrowing vegetation, but irregular web builders decreased due to the absence of microhabitats and dense foliage into which they build their webs. Six months after fire rosette-form plants with broader leaves increased, creating a favourable habitat for orb web builders which became more abundant, while graminoids and tall plants were reduced, resulting in a decrease of proper shelters and microclimate in soil surface to ground hunters which became less abundant. Hence, fire triggered changes in vegetation structure that lead both to trait-convergence and trait-divergence assembly patterns of spiders along gradients of plant biomass and functional diversity. Spider individuals occurring in more functionally diverse plant communities were more diverse in their traits probably because increased possibility of resource exploitation, following the habitat heterogeneity hypothesis. Finally, as an indication of resilience, after twelve months spider communities did not differ from those of unburned plots. Our findings show that functional traits provide a mechanistic understanding of the response of communities to environmental change

  7. Effects of elevated CO₂, warming and precipitation change on plant growth, photosynthesis and peroxidation in dominant species from North China grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Zhenzhu; Shimizu, Hideyuki; Ito, Shoko; Yagasaki, Yasumi; Zou, Chunjing; Zhou, Guangsheng; Zheng, Yuanrun

    2014-02-01

    Warming, watering and elevated atmospheric CO₂-concentration effects have been extensively studied separately; however, their combined impact on plants is not well understood. In the current research, we examined plant growth and physiological responses of three dominant species from the Eurasian Steppe with different functional traits to a combination of elevated CO₂, high temperature, and four simulated precipitation patterns. Elevated CO₂ stimulated plant growth by 10.8-41.7 % for a C₃ leguminous shrub, Caragana microphylla, and by 33.2-52.3 % for a C₃ grass, Stipa grandis, across all temperature and watering treatments. Elevated CO₂, however, did not affect plant biomass of a C₄ grass, Cleistogenes squarrosa, under normal or increased precipitation, whereas a 20.0-69.7 % stimulation of growth occurred with elevated CO₂ under drought conditions. Plant growth was enhanced in the C₃ shrub and the C₄ grass by warming under normal precipitation, but declined drastically with severe drought. The effects of elevated CO₂ on leaf traits, biomass allocation and photosynthetic potential were remarkably species-dependent. Suppression of photosynthetic activity, and enhancement of cell peroxidation by a combination of warming and severe drought, were partly alleviated by elevated CO₂. The relationships between plant functional traits and physiological activities and their responses to climate change were discussed. The present results suggested that the response to CO₂ enrichment may strongly depend on the response of specific species under varying patterns of precipitation, with or without warming, highlighting that individual species and multifactor dependencies must be considered in a projection of terrestrial ecosystem response to climatic change.

  8. Litter Accumulation and Nutrient Content of Roadside Plant Communities in Sichuan Basin, China

    OpenAIRE

    He, Huiqin; Monaco, Thomas

    2017-01-01

    It is widely recognized that feedbacks exist between plant litter and plant community species composition, but this relationship is difficult to interpret over heterogeneous conditions typical of modified environments such as roadways. Given the need to expedite natural recovery of disturbed areas through restoration interventions, we characterized litter accumulation and nutrient content (i.e., organic carbon, total N, and P) and quantified their association with key plant species. Plant spe...

  9. Allelopathy and resource competition: the effects of Phragmites australis invasion in plant communities

    OpenAIRE

    Uddin, Md Nazim; Robinson, Randall William

    2017-01-01

    Background Phragmites australis, a ubiquitous wetland plant, has been considered one of the most invasive species in the world. Allelopathy appears to be one of the invasion mechanisms, however, the effects could be masked by resource competition among target plants. The difficulty of distinguishing allelopathy from resource competition among plants has hindered investigations of the role of phytotoxic allelochemicals in plant communities. This has been addressed via experiments conducted in ...

  10. Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.; Duniway, Michael C.; Hall, Sonia A.; Jamiyansharav, Khishigbayar; Jia, Gensuo; Lkhagva, Ariuntsetseg; Munson, Seth M.; Pyke, David A.; Tietjen, Britta

    2018-01-01

    Water relations in plant communities are influenced both by contrasting functional groups (grasses, shrubs) and by climate change via complex effects on interception, uptake and transpiration. We modelled the effects of functional group replacement and biomass increase, both of which can be outcomes of invasion and vegetation management, and climate change on ecological drought (soil water potential below which photosynthesis stops) in 340 semiarid grassland sites over 30‐year periods. Relative to control vegetation (climate and site‐determined mixes of functional groups), the frequency and duration of drought were increased by shrubs and decreased by annual grasses. The rankings of shrubs, control vegetation, and annual grasses in terms of drought effects were generally consistent in current and future climates, suggesting that current differences among functional groups on drought effects predict future differences. Climate change accompanied by experimentally‐increased biomass (i.e. the effects of invasions that increase community biomass, or management that increases productivity through fertilization or respite from grazing) increased drought frequency and duration, and advanced drought onset. Our results suggest that the replacement of perennial temperate semiarid grasslands by shrubs, or increased biomass, can increase ecological drought both in current and future climates.

  11. Bottom-up and top-down effects on plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Souza, Lara; Zelikova, Tamara Jane; Sanders, Nate

    2016-01-01

    -down) and soil nitrogen (bottom-up) were manipulated over six years in an existing old-field community. We tracked plant α and β diversity - within plot richness and among plot biodiversity- and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) over the course of the experiment. We found that bottom-up factors...... affected ANPP while top-down factors influenced plant community structure. Across years, while N reduction lowered ANPP by 10%, N reduction did not alter ANPP relative to control plots. Further, N reduction lowered ANPP by 20% relative to N addition plots. On the other hand, the reduction of insect...... community composition via shifts in plant dominance....

  12. Relative Importance and Knowledge Distribution of Medicinal Plants in a Kichwa Community in the Ecuadorian Amazon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian Joseph Doyle

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Traditional knowledge, such as knowledge of the use of plants as medicine, influences how indigenous people manage forest resources. Gender and age-associated differences in traditional knowledge may impact forest resource management because of the traditional division of labor. We interviewed 18 men and 18 women between 9 and 74 years old in San José de Payamino, an indigenous community of the Kichwa ethnicity in the Ecuadorian Amazon, to determine if there are gender or age-associated differences in medicinal plant knowledge among the Payamino people and to identify the most important species from a sample of medicinal plants. Individuals were interviewed using a tablet that displayed images of 34 plants, which had been cited by traditional healers in the community. Quantitative analysis provided insight into the relative importance of plants in the sample as well as the distribution of medicinal plant knowledge among members of the community. The most important plants were Tradescantia zanonia and Monolena primuliflora. These plants should be considered candidates for further investigation. There was a positive correlation between age and knowledge of medicinal plants, but no significant difference between genders. Our results suggest that an interview method that relies on digital images can reveal differences in the importance of medicinal plants as well as provide insight into the distribution of traditional medical knowledge. While men and women are likely to manage forest resources similarly, younger members of the community may not have the same regard for forest resources as their elder counterparts.

  13. Grassland habitat restoration: lessons learnt from long term monitoring of Swanworth Quarry, UK, 1997–2014

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Maria Smith

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Habitat restoration projects are often conducted when prior use or extraction of natural resources results in land degradation. The success of restoration programmes, however, is variable, and studies that provide evidence of long term outcomes are valuable for evaluation purposes. This study focused on the restoration of vegetation within a limestone quarry in Dorset, UK between 1997 and 2014. Using a randomised block design, the effect of seed mix and seed rate on the development of community assemblage was investigated in comparison to a nearby target calcareous grassland site. We hypothesised that seed mix composition and sowing rate would influence both the trajectory of the grassland assemblage and final community composition. We found that species composition (in relation to both richness and community assemblage was strongly influenced by time and to some extent by seed rate and seed mix. However, no treatments achieved strong resemblance to the calcareous grassland target vegetation; rather they resembled mesotrophic communities. We conclude that (as with previous studies there is no “quick fix” for the establishment of a grassland community; long-term monitoring provides useful information on the trajectory of community development; sowing gets you something (in our case mesotrophic grassland, but, it may not be the target vegetation (e.g., calcicolous grassland you want that is difficult to establish and regenerate; it is important to sow a diverse mix as subsequent recruitment opportunities are probably limited; post-establishment management should be explored further and carefully considered as part of a restoration project.

  14. Responses of nocturnal rodents to shrub encroachment in Banni grasslands, Gujarat, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayadevan, A.

    2016-12-01

    Shrub encroachment is one of the greatest threats to grasslands globally. These woodlands can strongly influence the behaviour of small mammals adapted to more open habitats, which rely on high visibility for early detection of predators. In semi-arid grasslands, rodents are considered keystone species. Although shrub encroachment is known to negatively affect rodent assemblages, its impact on the foraging behaviour of rodents, which is known to vary in response to risky situations, is unknown. Understanding whether shrub encroachment alters such antipredator behaviour is important as antipredator behaviour can alter the distribution, abundance and ultimately, survival of prey species. In this study, I explored the effects of shrub encroachment on the foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodent communities in the Banni grasslands, India. I examined foraging behaviour, quantified using the giving-up density (GUD) framework and the number of rodent crossings around food patches, in two habitats that differed in the extent of shrub encroachment. Under the GUD framework, the amount of food left behind by a forager in a food patch reflects the costs of feeding at the patch. Higher GUDs imply higher foraging costs. I also investigated how removal of an invasive woody plant, Prosopis juliflora would affect foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodents. High shrub encroachment was associated with higher foraging costs (higher GUDs) and lower activity than the sparsely wooded habitat, likely due to low visibility in the densely wooded habitat. The dense habitat also supported a higher richness and relative abundance of generalist rodents than the sparse habitat, likely due to the increased heterogeneity of the habitat. The tree removal experiment revealed that rodents had lower GUDs (i.e., low foraging costs) after the event of tree cutting. This may be due to the reduction of cover in the habitat, leading to higher visibility and lower predation risk. My results suggest that shrub

  15. Petroleum Contamination and Plant Identity Influence Soil and Root Microbial Communities While AMF Spores Retrieved from the Same Plants Possess Markedly Different Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iffis, Bachir; St-Arnaud, Marc; Hijri, Mohamed

    2017-01-01

    Phytoremediation is a promising in situ green technology based on the use of plants to cleanup soils from organic and inorganic pollutants. Microbes, particularly bacteria and fungi, that closely interact with plant roots play key roles in phytoremediation processes. In polluted soils, the root-associated microbes contribute to alleviation of plant stress, improve nutrient uptake and may either degrade or sequester a large range of soil pollutants. Therefore, improving the efficiency of phytoremediation requires a thorough knowledge of the microbial diversity living in the rhizosphere and in close association with plant roots in both the surface and the endosphere. This study aims to assess fungal ITS and bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity using high-throughput sequencing in rhizospheric soils and roots of three plant species ( Solidago canadensis, Populus balsamifera , and Lycopus europaeus ) growing spontaneously in three petroleum hydrocarbon polluted sedimentation basins. Microbial community structures of rhizospheric soils and roots were compared with those of microbes associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) spores to determine the links between the root and rhizosphere communities and those associated with AMF. Our results showed a difference in OTU richness and community structure composition between soils and roots for both bacteria and fungi. We found that petroleum hydroca