Experiment 252 - Interactive Effects of Biodiversity and Climate on Grassland Seedling
Local invasions and extinctions are key determinants of community dynamics, composition, and diversity. High plant species diversity has recently been reported to reduce community invasibility, but it is not known how climate change affects local invasion and extinction. We aim to determine how and why climate change interacts with diversity to affect community invasibility, species’ invasiveness, and local extinction. Such information is essential for any attempt to predict and manage the response of grassland communities to global climate change. We will investigate the response of local invasion and extinction to changing climate in communities of differing diversities using the existing Biodiversity and Climate (BAC) experiment. This experiment nests subplot warming treatments (2.5-3.0 ?C, 1.0-1.5 ?C, and unheated control) in plots of 1, 4, or 16 plant species within the biodiversity experiment (E120). In each BAC subplot, we will plant seeds of 25 perennial prairie species in early June within a 0.16 m2 patch and seedlings of 4 of these species within another 0.16 m2 patch. The species to be planted occur at Cedar Creek, but not in the E120 plots. They include different functional groups, with varying geographic ranges and soil moisture regimes, to represent the diversity of potential responses to climate change. Germination, seedling survival through summer drought and winter, and seedling growth will be monitored. The effects of residents on invaders may be strongest when invaders are small, so seedling performance will be studied in depth to assess interactions between the planted species’ traits, diversity, warming, invasibility and invasiveness. Planted species will be removed in the second summer before they become large enough to set seed or significantly affect ecosystem processes or other plant species.
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