- University of Tennessee
Resource availability mediates the importance of priority effects in plant community assembly and ecosystem function
Kardol, Paul; Souza, Lara; Classen, Aimée T.
We found that the timing of species arrival had a large impact on community assembly, but the size of the effect depended on soil fertility. As planting interval increased, plant communities diverged further from the control, but the divergence was stronger at high than at low nutrient supply. Our data suggest that at high nutrient supply, early-planted species preempted light resources more quickly, thus preventing the successful establishment of later arriving species even at short planting intervals. Finally, we found that assembly related divergence in plant communities scaled to impact ecosystem-level characteristics such as green leaf chemistry, but had little effect on total community biomass and net ecosystem exchange of CO2 and water vapor. Our data indicate that the effect of a stochastic factor, here the timing of species arrival on community composition, depends on the resource level under which the community assembles.
2013, Volume: 122, number: 1, pages: 84-94
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