Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought

Dylan Craven*, Forest Isbell, Pete Manning, John Connolly, Helge Bruelheide, Anne Ebeling, Christiane Roscher, Jasper van Ruijven, Alexandra Weigelt, Brian Wilsey, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Enrica de Luca, John N. Griffin, Yann Hautier, Andy Hector, Anke Jentsch, Jürgen Kreyling, Vojtech Lanta, Michel Loreau, Sebastian T. MeyerAkira S. Mori, Shahid Naeem, Cecilia Palmborg, H. Wayne Polley, Peter B. Reich, Bernhard Schmid, Alrun Siebenkäs, Eric Seabloom, Madhav P. Thakur, David Tilman, Anja Vogel, Nico Eisenhauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Global change drivers are rapidly altering resource availability and biodiversity. While there is consensus that greater biodiversity increases the functioning of ecosystems, the extent to which biodiversity buffers ecosystem productivity in response to changes in resource availability remains unclear. We use data from16 grassland experiments across North America and Europe that manipulated plant species richness and one of two essential resources-soil nutrients or water-to assess the direction and strength of the interaction between plant diversity and resource alteration on above-ground productivity and net biodiversity, complementarity, and selection effects. Despite strong increases in productivity with nutrient addition and decreases in productivity with drought, we found that resource alterations did not alter biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Our results suggest that these relationships are largely determined by increases in complementarity effects along plant species richness gradients. Although nutrient addition reduced complementarity effects at high diversity, this appears to be due to high biomass in monocultures under nutrient enrichment. Our results indicate that diversity and the complementarity of species are important regulators of grassland ecosystem productivity, regardless of changes in other drivers of ecosystem function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150277
JournalPhilosophical transactions / Royal Society of London. Biological sciences
Issue number1694
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2016


  • Drought
  • Global change drivers
  • Plant diversity
  • Resource amendment
  • Resource reduction
  • Soil nutrients


Dive into the research topics of 'Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this