Intra-annual species gain overrides species loss in determining species richness in a typical steppe ecosystem after a decade of nitrogen enrichment.

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From: The Journal of Ecology(Vol. 110, Issue 8)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 341 words

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Abstract :

Keywords: biodiversity; community dynamics; determinants of plant community diversity; nitrogen addition frequency; nitrogen deposition; plant density; soil acidification; species turnover Abstract Increasing deposition of atmospheric nitrogen (N) due to accelerated human activities is a threat to various ecosystems. However, there is a lack of long-term experimental evidence demonstrating the seasonal dynamics of plant species turnover that ultimately determines species richness in natural ecosystems under N enrichment. Moreover, the frequency of N addition also may affect species turnover in a community, but it is rarely studied. To assess the responses of a plant community to N addition, we manipulated the amounts (0-50gNm.sup.-2 year.sup.-1) and frequency (2 vs. 12 times year.sup.-1) of N addition in an Inner Mongolian typical steppe ecosystem in northern China for 12 consecutive years (2008-2020). We measured species richness and density of plant in the growing seasons (May-September) from 2018 to 2020, starting 10years after the initial N addition treatment. Both species gain and species loss decreased with increasing amounts of N addition, resulting in a lower plant species turnover rate and greater similarity in the community between two adjacent months throughout the growing season. Species loss and species gain increased modestly under high N addition frequency. Species gain was more important than species loss in determining species richness after a decade of N application. In addition, plant density increased at high N amounts, mainly driven by enhanced clonal growth of the dominant species, Leymus chinensis. Synthesis. Together, these results suggest that high levels of N deposition may suppress species richness due to aggravated soil chemical properties and may favour growth of a limited number of N-tolerant species compared to systems that experience low levels of N deposition. To conserve biodiversity and to facilitate restoration of degraded grassland ecosystems exposed to long-term N deposition, amelioration of the acidified soils induced by N deposition may be an important strategy to use. Article Note: Handling Editor Eric Lamb CAPTION(S): Supplementary Material Byline: Ming Zhao, Hongxiang Zhang, Carol C. Baskin, Cunzheng Wei, Junjie Yang, Yunhai Zhang, Yong Jiang, Lin Jiang, Xingguo Han

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A713194781