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The allometry of plant height explains species loss under nitrogen addition

Citation

Zhou, Shurong (2021), The allometry of plant height explains species loss under nitrogen addition, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5x69p8d21

Abstract

Light asymmetry, with a higher light acquisition per unit biomass for larger plants, has been proposed as a major mechanism of species loss after nitrogen addition. However, solid evidence for this has been scarce. We measured the allometric size-height relationships of 25 plant species along a nitrogen addition gradient manipulated annually for eight years in a speciose alpine meadow and found that the positive relationship between species relative abundance and the height scaling exponent in natural conditions disappeared after nitrogen addition. Those species with lower height scaling exponents increased in relative abundance after nitrogen addition, thereby decreasing the community weighted mean and dispersion of the height scaling exponent and ultimately the species richness. Our results provided some unique evidence for light asymmetry induced species loss after nitrogen addition and a new insight from the perspective of allometric scaling to explain biodiversity maintenance in the face of global changes.

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31830009