Flooding disturbances increase resource availability and productivity but reduce stability in diverse plant communities

A. Wright, A. Ebeling, H. de Kroon, C. Roscher, A. Weigelt, N. Buchman, T. Buchman, C. Fischer, N. Hacker, A. Hildebrandt, L. Mommer

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46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The natural world is increasingly defined by change. Within the next 100 years, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will continue to increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events. Simultaneously, human activities are reducing global biodiversity, with current extinction rates at ~1,000 × what they were before human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. The co–occurrence of these trends may be of particular concern, as greater biological diversity could help ecosystems resist change during large perturbations. We use data from a 200–year flood event to show that when a disturbance is associated with an increase in resource availability, the opposite may occur. Flooding was associated with increases in productivity and decreases in stability, particularly in the highest diversity communities. Our results undermine the utility of the biodiversity–stability hypothesis during a large number of disturbances where resource availability increases. We propose a conceptual framework that can be widely applied during natural disturbances.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6092
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • species richness
  • grassland experiment
  • biodiversity
  • ecosystems
  • biomass

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    Wright, A., Ebeling, A., de Kroon, H., Roscher, C., Weigelt, A., Buchman, N., Buchman, T., Fischer, C., Hacker, N., Hildebrandt, A., & Mommer, L. (2015). Flooding disturbances increase resource availability and productivity but reduce stability in diverse plant communities. Nature Communications, 6, [6092]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7092