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Title: Long-term exposure to elevated CO 2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie

Climate controls vegetation distribution across the globe, and some vegetation types are more vulnerable to climate change, whereas others are more resistant. Because resistance and resilience can influence ecosystem stability and determine how communities and ecosystems respond to climate change, we need to evaluate the potential for resistance as we predict future ecosystem function. In a mixed-grass prairie in the northern Great Plains, in this study we used a large field experiment to test the effects of elevated CO 2, warming, and summer irrigation on plant community structure and productivity, linking changes in both to stability in plant community composition and biomass production. We show that the independent effects of CO 2 and warming on community composition and productivity depend on interannual variation in precipitation and that the effects of elevated CO 2 are not limited to water saving because they differ from those of irrigation. We also show that production in this mixed-grass prairie ecosystem is not only relatively resistant to interannual variation in precipitation, but also rendered more stable under elevated CO 2 conditions. This increase in production stability is the result of altered community dominance patterns: Community evenness increases as dominant species decrease in biomass under elevatedmore » CO 2. In many grasslands that serve as rangelands, the economic value of the ecosystem is largely dependent on plant community composition and the relative abundance of key forage species. Finally, our results have implications for how we manage native grasslands in the face of changing climate.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)
  2. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States)
  4. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Univ. of Western Sydney, Penrith (Australia)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0006973
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 111; Journal Issue: 43; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate change; elevated carbon dioxide; grassland; community stability; warming
OSTI Identifier:
1348417
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1454918

Zelikova, Tamara Jane, Blumenthal, Dana M., Williams, David G., Souza, Lara, LeCain, Daniel R., Morgan, Jack, and Pendall, Elise. Long-term exposure to elevated CO2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1414659111.
Zelikova, Tamara Jane, Blumenthal, Dana M., Williams, David G., Souza, Lara, LeCain, Daniel R., Morgan, Jack, & Pendall, Elise. Long-term exposure to elevated CO2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1414659111.
Zelikova, Tamara Jane, Blumenthal, Dana M., Williams, David G., Souza, Lara, LeCain, Daniel R., Morgan, Jack, and Pendall, Elise. 2014. "Long-term exposure to elevated CO2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1414659111. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1348417.
@article{osti_1348417,
title = {Long-term exposure to elevated CO2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie},
author = {Zelikova, Tamara Jane and Blumenthal, Dana M. and Williams, David G. and Souza, Lara and LeCain, Daniel R. and Morgan, Jack and Pendall, Elise},
abstractNote = {Climate controls vegetation distribution across the globe, and some vegetation types are more vulnerable to climate change, whereas others are more resistant. Because resistance and resilience can influence ecosystem stability and determine how communities and ecosystems respond to climate change, we need to evaluate the potential for resistance as we predict future ecosystem function. In a mixed-grass prairie in the northern Great Plains, in this study we used a large field experiment to test the effects of elevated CO2, warming, and summer irrigation on plant community structure and productivity, linking changes in both to stability in plant community composition and biomass production. We show that the independent effects of CO2 and warming on community composition and productivity depend on interannual variation in precipitation and that the effects of elevated CO2 are not limited to water saving because they differ from those of irrigation. We also show that production in this mixed-grass prairie ecosystem is not only relatively resistant to interannual variation in precipitation, but also rendered more stable under elevated CO2 conditions. This increase in production stability is the result of altered community dominance patterns: Community evenness increases as dominant species decrease in biomass under elevated CO2. In many grasslands that serve as rangelands, the economic value of the ecosystem is largely dependent on plant community composition and the relative abundance of key forage species. Finally, our results have implications for how we manage native grasslands in the face of changing climate.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1414659111},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 43,
volume = 111,
place = {United States},
year = {2014},
month = {10}
}