Disentangling climate from soil nutrient effects on plant biomass production using a multispecies phytometer

  • Plant community biomass production is co-dependent on climatic and edaphic factors that are often covarying and non-independent. Disentangling how these factors act in isolation is challenging, especially along large climatic gradients that can mask soil effects. As anthropogenic pressure increasingly alters local climate and soil resource supply unevenly across landscapes, our ability to predict concurrent changes in plant community processes requires clearer understandings of independent and interactive effects of climate and soil. To address this, we developed a multispecies phytometer (i.e., standardized plant community) for separating key drivers underlying plant productivity across gradients. Phytometers were composed of three globally cosmopolitan herbaceous perennials, Dactylis glomerata, Plantago lanceolata, and Trifolium pratense. In 2017, we grew phytometer communities in 18 sites across a pan-European aridity gradient in local site soils and a standardized substrate and compared biomass production. Standard substrate phytometers succeeded in providing a standardized climate biomass response independent of local soil effects. This allowed us to factor out climate effects in local soil phytometers, establishing that nitrogen availability did not predict biomass production, while phosphorus availability exerted a strong, positive effect independent of climate. Additionally, we identified a negative relationship between biomass production and potassium and magnesium availability. Species-specific biomass responses to the environment in the climate-corrected biomass were asynchronous, demonstrating the importance of species interactions in vegetation responses to global change. Biomass production was co-limited by climatic and soil drivers, with each species experiencing its own unique set of co-limitations. Our study demonstrates the potential of phytometers for disentangling effects of climate and soil on plant biomass production and suggests an increasing role of P limitation in the temperate regions of Europe.
Author:Peter WilfahrtORCiDGND, Andreas A. H. SchweigerORCiDGND, Nelson AbrantesORCiD, Mohammed Abu Sayed Arfin KhanORCiDGND, Michael BahnORCiDGND, Bernd BerauerORCiDGND, Michael Bierbaumer, Ika DjukicORCiD, Marleen van Dusseldorp, Pia EibesORCiD, Marc EstiarteORCiD, Andreas von Heßberg, Petr HolubORCiD, Johannes IngrischORCiDGND, Inger Kappel SchmidtORCiD, Lazar KesicORCiD, Karel KlemORCiD, György Kröel-DulayORCiD, Klaus S. LarsenORCiD, Krista Lõhmus, Pille MändORCiD, Ildikó OrbánORCiD, Sasa OrlovicORCiD, Josep PeñuelasORCiD, David ReinthalerORCiD, Dajana RadujkovićORCiD, Max SchuchardtORCiDGND, Julienne SchweigerORCiDGND, Srdjan Stojnic, Albert Tietema, Otmar UrbanORCiD, Sara ViccaORCiD, Anke Jentsch-BeierkuhnleinORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Ecosphere
Place of publication:Ithaca, NY
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/08/08
Date of first Publication:2021/08/08
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/07/04
Tag:aridity; climate gradient; nitrogen; nutrient availability; phosphorus; phytometer; plant productivity; resource limitation
Issue:8, art. e03719
Page Number:14
First Page:1
Last Page:14
This project was developed as part of the ES1308 ClimMani COST action. It was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the BonaRes project SUSALPS (Sustainable use of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate; project number: 031B0027C). JP and ME acknowledge European Research Council Synergy grant ERC-SyG-2013-610028 IMBALANCE-P, the Spanish Government grant CGL2016-79835-P, and the Catalan Government grant SGR 2017-1005. PH, KK, and OU were supported by the National Programme for Sustainability (grant no. LO1415). MB, JI, and DR acknowledge the support from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) project no P28572 and background logistic support from AREC Raumberg-Gumpenstein (Erich PÖTSCH). PM and KL were supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (Institutional Research Funding IUT34-9). GKD was funded by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (K112576, K129068).
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0