University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences


Experiment 271 - FAB 1 : Forests and Biodiversity Experiment - High density diversity experiment

We are ultimately proposing a new Forest And Biodiversity experiment (FAB) focused on
trees of our region to investigate the maintenance and consequences of biological
diversity in soil, food webs, plant communities and ecosystems. Here we seek
permission to establish an initial experiment consisting of transplanted seedlings
to be conducted from May 2012-May 2013 to determine whether tree seedlings
from 21 Cedar Creek species survive in a series of locations. These locations
would be candidate sites for a much larger, long-term experiment to be set up in
subsequent years. The locations for planting seedlings include five sets of old fields:
fields 1/500/503, fields 31-34, fields 526-530/74, field 47, and fields 516/517. In each set
of fields, 20-25 seedlings of each of 21 species would be planted in a 36 m2 area that will
be treated with roundup and disked prior to planting. FAB will be designed to
unravel effects of three forms of biological diversity: species richness (SR), functional
diversity (FD), and phylogenetic diversity (PD). We define FD as the representation of
multiple traits of leaves, roots, seeds, and the whole organism that are correlated with
species positions along gradients of resource supply, growth, and decomposition. PD is
the representation of evolutionary lineages measured as the genetic distances between
species. While PD and FD are often correlated, convergent evolution and adaptive
differentiation can decouple them. When functional traits that drive specific ecosystem
functions are not phylogenetically conserved, PD and FD may give contrasting
predictions. SR, PD, and FD are not independent, and we posit that PD may help
explain SR effects, and FD may help explain both PD and SR effects. A valuable and
unique contribution of the FAB design is its explicit ability to test for PD and FD effects
when SR is held constant; so direct contrast of PD and FD effects can be made
independent of SR. Thus FAB is designed to examine the separate and combined
effects of all three components of diversity

Due to the long lag between planting tree seedlings and determining effects of tree
composition and diversity on ecosystem functioning, almost no experiments are
2 available that elucidate the role of biodiversity in the functioning of forest ecosystems
(but see Hector et al 2011). The long-term nature of the proposed experiment, our
experience with large-scale experiments, and the major insights that FAB is likely to
provide make it highly suited to our long-term research at CDR. LTER is the only
program that we know of that can support such experiments. In addition to increasing
our inference to forested ecosystems, FAB will unravel the interacting effects of three
forms of biological diversity: species richness (SR), functional diversity (FD), and
phylogenetic diversity (PD).

(A) Description of Research:
Phase 1: In May 2012, we will initiate a seedling survival survey in five locations that are
candidates for a much larger study described in Phase 2. In each location, survival will
be determined for transplanted seedlings of 21 native tree species that occur commonly
at or near Cedar Creek: Populus tremuloides, Populus grandidentata, Populus deltoides,
Salix nigra, Salix amygdaloides, Betula papyrifera, Betula alleghaniensis, Quercus alba,
Quercus macrocarpa, Quercus rubra, Quercus ellipsoidalis, Acer saccharum, Acer
rubrum, Acer negundo, Tilia americana, Pinus strobus, Pinus resinosa, Pinus banksiana,
Larix laricina, Thuja occidentalis, Juniperus virginiana. A total of approximately 100
seedlings of each species will be planted in May 2012. In each of the five candidate
locations, 20-25 seedlings of each species will be planted in 3m x 3m plots. Species will
be randomized within these plots, and individuals will be planted 25 cm apart. After 1
year, we will tally the number of surviving seedlings and remove all plants from the sites.

(B) Location of Research
Locations for Phase 1 are five sets of old fields, shown by red rectangles in Fig. 1.
1) Field 047, the field area adjacent to the cemetery (corner of CR24 and CR76).
2) NW corner of Cedar Creek: Fields 001, 500, 503
3) Fields 31-34
4) Fields 516, 517
5) Fields 526-530, 074
Depending on the results of Phase 1, 1-3 of the candidate sites will be chosen for
implementing Phase 2, described below. Note that we are not requesting permission at
this time to complete Phase 2, because our final site selection depends on the results of
Phase 1. However, the candidate sites for Phase 1 should not be approved unless it is
likely that they would be approved for Phase 2.

Methods for e271


Dataset IDTitleRange of Years (# years with data)
aere271Initial soil pH2013-2013 (1 year)
aepe271Sapling Census2013-2014 (2 years)
afee271Soil bulk density2013-2013 (1 year)