Authors

Elizabeth T. Borer, University of Minnesota
Eric W. Seabloom, University of Minnesota
Daniel S. Gruner, University of Maryland
W. Stanley Harpole, Iowa State UniversityFollow
Helmut Hillebrand, Carl-von-Ossietzky University
Eric M. Lind, University of Minnesota
Peter B. Adler, Utah State University
Juan Alberti, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
T. Michael Anderson, Wake Forest University
Jonathan D. Bakker, University of Washington
Lori A. Biederman, Iowa State UniversityFollow
Dana Blumenthal, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Cynthia S. Brown, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Lars A. Brudvig, Michigan State University
Yvonne M. Buckley, University of Queensland
Marc Cadotte, University of Toronto, Scarborough
Chengjin Chu, Lanzhou University
Elsa E. Cleland, University of California, San Diego
Michael J. Crawley, Imperial College at Silwood Park
Pedro Daleo, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
Ellen I. Damschen, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Kendi F. Davies, University of Colorado at Boulder
Nicole M. DeCrappeo, United States Geological Survey
Guozhen Du, Lanzhou University
Jennifer Firn, Queensland University of Technology
Yann Hautier, University of Minnesota
Robert W. Heckman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Andy Hector, University of Oxford
Janneke HilleRisLambers, University of Washington
Oscar Iribarne, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
Julia A. Klein, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Johannes M. H. Knops, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Kimberly J. La Pierre, University of California - Berkeley
Andrew D. B. Leakey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wei Li, Iowa State University
Andrew S. MacDougall, University of Guelph
Rebecca L. McCulley, University of Kentucky
Brett A. Melbourne, University of Colorado at Boulder
Charles E. Mitchell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Joslin L. Moore, University of Melbourne
Brent D. Mortensen, Iowa State UniversityFollow
Lydia R. O'Halloran, Oregon State University
John L. Orrock, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Jesus Pascual, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
Suzanne M. Prober, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
David A. Pyke, United States Geological Survey
Anita C. Risch, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Martin Schuetz, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Melinda D. Smith, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Carly J. Stevens, Lancaster University
Lauren K. Sullivan, Iowa State UniversityFollow
Ryan J. Williams, Iowa State UniversityFollow
Peter D. Wragg, University of Minnesota
Justin P. Wright, Duke University
Louie H. Yang, University of California - Davis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Journal or Book Title

Nature

Volume

508

First Page

517

Last Page

520

DOI

10.1038/nature13144

Abstract

Human alterations to nutrient cycles1, 2 and herbivore communities3, 4, 5, 6, 7 are affecting global biodiversity dramatically2. 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 systems8, 9. 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.

Comments

This article is from Nature 508 (2014): 517, doi:10.1038/nature13144.

Rights

Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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