Determinants of species richness in the Park Grass Experiment

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Crawley, M. J., Johnston, A. E., Silvertown, J., Dodd, M., De Mazancourt, C., Heard, M. S., Henman, D. F. and Edwards, G. R. 2005. Determinants of species richness in the Park Grass Experiment. The American Naturalist. 165 (2), pp. 179-192.

AuthorsCrawley, M. J., Johnston, A. E., Silvertown, J., Dodd, M., De Mazancourt, C., Heard, M. S., Henman, D. F. and Edwards, G. R.
Abstract

The Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted in southeast England was started in 1856, making it the longest‐running experiment in plant ecology anywhere in the world. Experimental inputs include a range of fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and organic manures) applied annually, with lime applied occasionally, and these have led to an increase in biomass and, where nitrogen was applied in the form of ammonium sulfate, to substantial decreases in soil pH. The number of species per plot varies from three to 44 per 200 m2, affording a unique opportunity to study the determinants of plant species richness and to estimate the effect sizes attributable to different factors. The response of species richness to biomass depends on the amount and type of nitrogen applied; richness declined monotonically with increasing biomass on plots receiving no nitrogen or receiving nitrogen in the form of sodium nitrate, but there was no relationship between species richness and biomass on plots acidified by ammonium sulfate application. The response to lime also depended on the type of nitrogen applied; there was no relationship between lime treatment and species richness, except in plots receiving nitrogen in the form of ammonium sulfate, where species richness increased sharply with increasing soil pH. The addition of phosphorus reduced species richness, and application of potassium along with phosphorus reduced species richness further, but the biggest negative effects were when nitrogen and phosphorus were applied together. The analysis demonstrates how multiple factors contribute to the observed diversity patterns and how environmental regulation of species pools can operate at the same spatial and temporal scale as biomass effects.

KeywordsLong term experiments
Year of Publication2005
JournalThe American Naturalist
Journal citation165 (2), pp. 179-192
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1086/427270
PubMed ID15729649
Web address (URL)https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/427270
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
Funder project or code511
Using long-term experiments to study the sustainability of agroecological systems
Long-term experiments in nutrient cycling research
Atmospheric deposition and its impact on ecosystems
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2005
Publication process dates
Accepted21 Jul 2004
PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
ISSN0003-0147

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