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Title: Elevated carbon dioxide is predicted to promote coexistence among competing species in a trait-based model

Differential species responses to atmospheric CO 2 concentration (C a) could lead to quantitative changes in competition among species and community composition, with flow-on effects for ecosystem function. However, there has been little theoretical analysis of how elevated C a (eC a) will affect plant competition, or how composition of plant communities might change. Such theoretical analysis is needed for developing testable hypotheses to frame experimental research. Here, we investigated theoretically how plant competition might change under eC a by implementing two alternative competition theories, resource use theory and resource capture theory, in a plant carbon and nitrogen cycling model. The model makes several novel predictions for the impact of eC a on plant community composition. Using resource use theory, the model predicts that eC a is unlikely to change species dominance in competition, but is likely to increase coexistence among species. Using resource capture theory, the model predicts that eC a may increase community evenness. Collectively, both theories suggest that eC a will favor coexistence and hence that species diversity should increase with eC a. Our theoretical analysis leads to a novel hypothesis for the impact of eC a on plant community composition. In this study, the hypothesis hasmore » potential to help guide the design and interpretation of eC a experiments.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States); Macquarie Univ., North Ryde (Australia)
  2. Macquarie Univ., North Ryde (Australia); Univ. of Western Sydney, Penrith (Australia)
  3. Macquarie Univ., North Ryde (Australia); Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montepellier (France); Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (France)
  4. Univ. of Western Sydney, Penrith (Australia)
  5. Univ. of Western Sydney, Penrith (Australia); Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
DP1094791; FG02-96ER62291; FC02-06ER64158; 0322057; 9411972; 0080382; 0620652; 0716587; DOE/DE-FG02-96ER62291
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ecology and Evolution
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Ecology and Evolution; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-7758
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; elevated CO2; plant competition; species diversity; species traits
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1222601; OSTI ID: 1223043