Seabloom, EW, Borer, ET, Buckley, YM, Cleland, EE, ..., Humphries, HC, et al.
NWT Accession Number: NWT1845
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.
Biologic Diversity, Ecosystem Functions, Conservation, Nutrient Enrichment, Grasslands
Seabloom, EW, Borer, ET, Buckley, YM, Cleland, EE, ..., Humphries, HC, et al., (2015) Plant species’ origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands. Nature Communications 6 , DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8710
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB-1637686. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necesarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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