Non-random species loss and ecosystem functioning

There is a large body of research investigating how species loss affects ecosystem processes. Much of this research has relied on random manipulation of species richness – a design with limited relevance to real ecosystems because not all species are equally susceptible to extinction. We have designed a field experiment in a California serpentine grassland that directly compares the effects of random vs. ordered (i.e., realistic) plant species loss on net primary productivity, invasion resistance, water use, and nutrient cycling. Each experimental plot contains a mixture of 2, 5, 8, 12, or 16 native plant species either drawn at random or adhering to a realistic loss order based on nested subset analysis.

Project participants: Amy Wolf, Erika Zavaleta

Coyote Ridge

Related Publications

Selmants, P. C., Zavaleta, E. S., Pasari, J. R. and Hernandez, D. L. (2012), Realistic plant species losses reduce invasion resistance in a California serpentine grassland. Journal of Ecology, 100: 723–731