Soil heterogeneity and plant species diversity in experimental grassland communities: contrasting effects of soil nutrients and pH at different spatial scales

Wei Xue*, Martijn T. Bezemer, Frank Berendse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background and aims: Current knowledge of soil heterogeneity-diversity relationships (HDR) is largely based on studies manipulating single factor, but the advancements in HDR may require a comprehensive experiment incorporating multiple factors. Methods: We conducted a three-year field experiment in which a seed mixture of 16 common grassland species was sown in plots with heterogeneous soils consisting of small (10 cm × 10 cm) or large patches (30 cm × 30 cm) of low and high nutrients or low and high pH, and homogeneous soils with an even mixture of low and high nutrient/pH soils. Soil nutrients and pH were manipulated in separate treatments. We determined plant species richness and diversity at two focal scales (40 cm × 40 cm plot-scale and 10 cm × 10 cm patch-scale). Results: Plot-scale richness and diversity were not influenced by soil heterogeneity, but patch-scale richness was lower in plots with heterogeneous nutrients than in plots where nutrients were distributed homogeneously. There was no difference between the two heterogeneous nutrient soils with different grain sizes. Patch-scale diversity was higher in heterogeneous pH soils of large patch size than in heterogeneous pH soils of small patch size or the homogeneous pH soil at the final harvest. Species richness and diversity quantified at both plot and patch scales declined in all soils over time. Conclusions: The influence of soil heterogeneity on plant species diversity depends on whether the soil varies in nutrients or pH, and on the temporal-spatial scale at which species diversity and soil heterogeneity are measured. These results indicate that soil heterogeneity has the potential to promote plant coexistence and future HDR studies should consider multiple soil factors at various temporal-spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-509
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume442
Issue number1-2
Early online date18 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

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soil heterogeneity
soil nutrient
soil nutrients
soil pH
species diversity
grasslands
grassland
soil
nutrients
seed mixtures
nutrient
patch size
plant species
effect
species richness
coexistence
grain size

Keywords

  • Focal scale
  • Patch size
  • Plant community composition
  • Plant species diversity
  • Soil heterogeneity
  • Soil nutrients and pH

Cite this

@article{47a1404d113c4d5bbd1d3036d3bb915d,
title = "Soil heterogeneity and plant species diversity in experimental grassland communities: contrasting effects of soil nutrients and pH at different spatial scales",
abstract = "Background and aims: Current knowledge of soil heterogeneity-diversity relationships (HDR) is largely based on studies manipulating single factor, but the advancements in HDR may require a comprehensive experiment incorporating multiple factors. Methods: We conducted a three-year field experiment in which a seed mixture of 16 common grassland species was sown in plots with heterogeneous soils consisting of small (10 cm × 10 cm) or large patches (30 cm × 30 cm) of low and high nutrients or low and high pH, and homogeneous soils with an even mixture of low and high nutrient/pH soils. Soil nutrients and pH were manipulated in separate treatments. We determined plant species richness and diversity at two focal scales (40 cm × 40 cm plot-scale and 10 cm × 10 cm patch-scale). Results: Plot-scale richness and diversity were not influenced by soil heterogeneity, but patch-scale richness was lower in plots with heterogeneous nutrients than in plots where nutrients were distributed homogeneously. There was no difference between the two heterogeneous nutrient soils with different grain sizes. Patch-scale diversity was higher in heterogeneous pH soils of large patch size than in heterogeneous pH soils of small patch size or the homogeneous pH soil at the final harvest. Species richness and diversity quantified at both plot and patch scales declined in all soils over time. Conclusions: The influence of soil heterogeneity on plant species diversity depends on whether the soil varies in nutrients or pH, and on the temporal-spatial scale at which species diversity and soil heterogeneity are measured. These results indicate that soil heterogeneity has the potential to promote plant coexistence and future HDR studies should consider multiple soil factors at various temporal-spatial scales.",
keywords = "Focal scale, Patch size, Plant community composition, Plant species diversity, Soil heterogeneity, Soil nutrients and pH",
author = "Wei Xue and Bezemer, {Martijn T.} and Frank Berendse",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1007/s11104-019-04208-5",
language = "English",
volume = "442",
pages = "497--509",
journal = "Plant and Soil",
issn = "0032-079X",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "1-2",

}

Soil heterogeneity and plant species diversity in experimental grassland communities: contrasting effects of soil nutrients and pH at different spatial scales. / Xue, Wei; Bezemer, Martijn T.; Berendse, Frank.

In: Plant and Soil, Vol. 442, No. 1-2, 09.2019, p. 497-509.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Soil heterogeneity and plant species diversity in experimental grassland communities: contrasting effects of soil nutrients and pH at different spatial scales

AU - Xue, Wei

AU - Bezemer, Martijn T.

AU - Berendse, Frank

PY - 2019/9

Y1 - 2019/9

N2 - Background and aims: Current knowledge of soil heterogeneity-diversity relationships (HDR) is largely based on studies manipulating single factor, but the advancements in HDR may require a comprehensive experiment incorporating multiple factors. Methods: We conducted a three-year field experiment in which a seed mixture of 16 common grassland species was sown in plots with heterogeneous soils consisting of small (10 cm × 10 cm) or large patches (30 cm × 30 cm) of low and high nutrients or low and high pH, and homogeneous soils with an even mixture of low and high nutrient/pH soils. Soil nutrients and pH were manipulated in separate treatments. We determined plant species richness and diversity at two focal scales (40 cm × 40 cm plot-scale and 10 cm × 10 cm patch-scale). Results: Plot-scale richness and diversity were not influenced by soil heterogeneity, but patch-scale richness was lower in plots with heterogeneous nutrients than in plots where nutrients were distributed homogeneously. There was no difference between the two heterogeneous nutrient soils with different grain sizes. Patch-scale diversity was higher in heterogeneous pH soils of large patch size than in heterogeneous pH soils of small patch size or the homogeneous pH soil at the final harvest. Species richness and diversity quantified at both plot and patch scales declined in all soils over time. Conclusions: The influence of soil heterogeneity on plant species diversity depends on whether the soil varies in nutrients or pH, and on the temporal-spatial scale at which species diversity and soil heterogeneity are measured. These results indicate that soil heterogeneity has the potential to promote plant coexistence and future HDR studies should consider multiple soil factors at various temporal-spatial scales.

AB - Background and aims: Current knowledge of soil heterogeneity-diversity relationships (HDR) is largely based on studies manipulating single factor, but the advancements in HDR may require a comprehensive experiment incorporating multiple factors. Methods: We conducted a three-year field experiment in which a seed mixture of 16 common grassland species was sown in plots with heterogeneous soils consisting of small (10 cm × 10 cm) or large patches (30 cm × 30 cm) of low and high nutrients or low and high pH, and homogeneous soils with an even mixture of low and high nutrient/pH soils. Soil nutrients and pH were manipulated in separate treatments. We determined plant species richness and diversity at two focal scales (40 cm × 40 cm plot-scale and 10 cm × 10 cm patch-scale). Results: Plot-scale richness and diversity were not influenced by soil heterogeneity, but patch-scale richness was lower in plots with heterogeneous nutrients than in plots where nutrients were distributed homogeneously. There was no difference between the two heterogeneous nutrient soils with different grain sizes. Patch-scale diversity was higher in heterogeneous pH soils of large patch size than in heterogeneous pH soils of small patch size or the homogeneous pH soil at the final harvest. Species richness and diversity quantified at both plot and patch scales declined in all soils over time. Conclusions: The influence of soil heterogeneity on plant species diversity depends on whether the soil varies in nutrients or pH, and on the temporal-spatial scale at which species diversity and soil heterogeneity are measured. These results indicate that soil heterogeneity has the potential to promote plant coexistence and future HDR studies should consider multiple soil factors at various temporal-spatial scales.

KW - Focal scale

KW - Patch size

KW - Plant community composition

KW - Plant species diversity

KW - Soil heterogeneity

KW - Soil nutrients and pH

U2 - 10.1007/s11104-019-04208-5

DO - 10.1007/s11104-019-04208-5

M3 - Article

VL - 442

SP - 497

EP - 509

JO - Plant and Soil

JF - Plant and Soil

SN - 0032-079X

IS - 1-2

ER -