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Data from: Biomass responses of widely and less-widely naturalized alien plants to artificial light at night


Speißer, Benedikt; Liu, Yanjie; van Kleunen, Mark (2021), Data from: Biomass responses of widely and less-widely naturalized alien plants to artificial light at night, Dryad, Dataset,


Artificial light at night has rapidly increased during the last century, and could potentially affect many ecological processes, from individuals via communities to entire ecosystems. Recent research has shown that artificial light at night may not only affect the behavior of animals but also growth of plants and vegetation composition. However, it is not known yet whether artificial light at night may also affect other global change components such as plant invasions.  

Here, we tested how naturalized alien plants respond to artificial light at night, and particularly whether widely naturalized species differ from less-widely naturalized species in their response to artificial light at night. We grew nine taxonomically related pairs of widely naturalized and less-widely naturalized species alone and in competition, with native plants with and without artificial light at night.

We found that in the competition treatment, artificial light at night significantly increased the total biomass production per pot, but not the biomass ratio between the naturalized alien plants and the native competitors. Interestingly, although the less-widely naturalized species produced overall significantly less biomass than the widely naturalized species, there was a trend that the less-widely naturalized species increased their biomass more strongly in response to artificial light at night than the widely naturalized species did (P = 0.07).

Synthesis. Our study shows that although widely naturalized plants produce more biomass than less-widely naturalized plants across different environmental conditions, they took less advantage of artificial light at night. This suggests that artificial light at night might lead to increased spread of currently less-widely naturalized species, at least when artificial light at night continues to increase.


All data were collected from a greenhouse experiment.

Usage Notes

In the dataset, NA represents missing values

Light_plot    the plot number of the light treatment
Identity    species ID
Species    species name of the target
Family    the Family of target species
Competition    Yes represents with competition, No represents growing alone
Light_treatment    Ambient represents dark, light represents with light treatment
Initial_eaf_area_mm2    unit mm2
Initial_height_mm    unit mm
Target_biomass_g    unit g
Biomass_Prunella_vulgaris_g    unit g
Biomass_Dactylis_glomerata_g    unit g
Biomass_Leucanthemum_ircutianum_g    unit g
Biomass_Anthoxanthum_odoratum_g    unit g
Biomass_Plantago_lanceolata_g    unit g
Biomass_Poa_pratensis_g    unit g
Other_species_biomass_g    species that we did not transplant
Biomass_Native_community_g    unit g
Total_biomass_per_pot_g    unit g, biomass of target plus biomass of native community
Biomass_proportion_of_target     biomass of target / total biomass per pot
Native_Community_Normal    0 represents some native species died or more species occure which we did not transplant
Target_Mortality    0 represents the target species live, 1 represents the target species died


Chinese Academy of Sciences, Award: Y9H1011001, Y9B7041001