Linking changes in species composition and biomass in a globally distributed grassland experiment

Emma Ladouceur*, Shane A. Blowes, Jonathan M. Chase, Adam T. Clark, Magda Garbowski, Juan Alberti, Carlos Alberto Arnillas, Jonathan D. Bakker, Isabel C. Barrio, Siddharth Bharath, Elizabeth T. Borer, Lars A. Brudvig, Marc W. Cadotte, Qingqing Chen, Scott L. Collins, Christopher R. Dickman, Ian Donohue, Guozhen Du, Anne Ebeling, Nico EisenhauerPhilip A. Fay, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Anke Jentsch, Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir, Kimberly Komatsu, Andrew MacDougall, Jason P. Martina, Joslin L. Moore, John W. Morgan, Pablo L. Peri, Sally A Power, Zhengwei Ren, Anita C. Risch, Christiane Roscher, Max A Schuchardt, Eric W. Seabloom, Carly J. Stevens, G. F. Veen, Risto Virtanen, Glenda M. Wardle, Peter A. Wilfahrt, W. Stanley Harpole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Global change drivers, such as anthropogenic nutrient inputs, are increasing globally. Nutrient deposition simultaneously alters plant biodiversity, species composition and ecosystem processes like aboveground biomass production. These changes are underpinned by species extinction, colonisation and shifting relative abundance. Here, we use the Price equation to quantify and link the contributions of species that are lost, gained or that persist to change in aboveground biomass in 59 experimental grassland sites. Under ambient (control) conditions, compositional and biomass turnover was high, and losses (i.e. local extinctions) were balanced by gains (i.e. colonisation). Under fertilisation, the decline in species richness resulted from increased species loss and decreases in species gained. Biomass increase under fertilisation resulted mostly from species that persist and to a lesser extent from species gained. Drivers of ecological change can interact relatively independently with diversity, composition and ecosystem processes and functions such as aboveground biomass due to the individual contributions of species lost, gained or persisting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2712
Number of pages14
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • aboveground biomass
  • biodiversity change
  • CAFE approach
  • ecosystem function
  • global change
  • grasslands
  • nutrient deposition
  • Price equation
  • The Nutrient Network
  • turnover


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