What drives plant species diversity? A global distributed test of the unimodal relationship between herbaceous species richness and plant biomass

Lauchlan H. Fraser, Anke Jentsch, Marcelo Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Question: For over a century, ecologists have grappled with the question "what drives species diversity?" Urgent global issues such as loss of biodiversity and the relative importance of species richness for ecosystem function and services has heightened the relative importance of understanding processes that control species diversity. Here we present the plans for a global coordinated distributed experiment for herbaceous communities, the HerbDivNet, to test the humpbacked model, a unimodal relationship between species richness and aboveground plant biomass plus dead plant litter HBM, to determine whether scale may influence the HBM, and to explore drivers of plant diversity. Location: Globally distributed experiment. Methods: We propose a nested, standardized sampling design 8 × 8 m, with 1 m2 plots, taken from multiple site locations along a range of sites varying in primary productivity. Results and Conclusions:We welcome others with an interest in using global, standardized, coordinated distributed experiments to explore patterns and processes in herbaceous plant communities to join HerbDivNet in the search of new insights to drivers of plant species diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1160-1166
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Competition
  • Disturbance
  • Hump-backed model
  • Plant diversity
  • Productivity/diversity relationships

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