Many global changes take the form of resource enhancements that have potential to transform multiple aspects of ecosystems from slower to faster cycling, including a suite of both above- and belowground variables. We developed a novel analytic approach to measure integrated ecosystem responses to resource-enhancing global changes, and how such whole ecosystem slow-to-fast transitions are linked to diversity and exotic invasions in real-world ecosystems. We asked how 5-year experimental rainfall and nutrient enhancements in a natural grassland system affected 16 ecosystem functions, pools and stoichiometry variables considered to indicate slow versus fast cycling. We combined these metrics into a novel index we termed "slow-fast multifunctionality" and assessed its relationship to plant community diversity and exotic plant dominance. Nutrient and rainfall addition interacted to affect average slow-fast multifunctionality. Nutrient addition alone pushed the system towards faster cycling, but this effect weakened with the joint addition of rainfall and nutrients. Variables associated with soil nutrient pools and cycling most strongly contributed to this antagonistic interaction. Nutrient and water addition together, respectively, had additive or synergistic effects on plant trait composition and productivity, demonstrating divergence of above- and belowground ecosystem responses. Our novel metric of faster cycling was strongly associated with decreased plant species richness and increased exotic species dominance. These results demonstrate the breadth of interacting community and ecosystem changes that ensue when resource limitation is relaxed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03178
Pages (from-to)1-12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • climate change
  • ecological multifunctionality
  • exotics
  • multiple global changes
  • native diversity
  • nutrient enrichment
  • slow transition
  • fast transition
  • whole-ecosystem shif


Dive into the research topics of 'Resource-enhancing global changes drive a whole-ecosystem shift to faster cycling but decrease diversity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this