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Data from: Fertiliser application modulates the impact of interannual climate fluctuations and plant-to-plant interactions on the dynamics of annual species in a Mediterranean grassland

Citation

Valerio, Mercedes; Gazol, Antonio; Ripollés, María; Ibáñez, Ricardo (2022), Data from: Fertiliser application modulates the impact of interannual climate fluctuations and plant-to-plant interactions on the dynamics of annual species in a Mediterranean grassland, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.66t1g1k3r

Abstract

Background: Climate and land-use changes, which include the application of various types of organic and inorganic fertilisers, have been reducing the species diversity of Mediterranean grasslands and threatening their conservation. Annual plants are one of the most diverse functional groups of species in these grasslands, despite suffering competitive pressure from perennial herbaceous and woody species, and they are essential for ecosystem functioning and stability. 

Aims: To quantify how fertilisation modulates the impact of plant-to-plant interactions and climate fluctuations on the dynamics of annuals in Mediterranean grasslands. We hypothesised that the application of sewage sludge would increase competition between functional groups, reducing the abundance of annuals in the long-term, but would buffer the negative impacts of drought on the year-to-year fluctuation of the diversity of annuals.

Methods: In a semi-natural species-rich Mediterranean grassland in northern Spain, we analysed the changes in the taxonomical and functional composition and diversity of annuals over 14 years in response to variations in the abundance of perennial herbaceous and woody species, climate fluctuations, and fertilisation with sewage sludge. We quantified separately the patterns of year-to-year fluctuations and long-term trends. 

Results: The frequency and diversity of annuals decreased with a higher abundance of perennial herbaceous species, drought in June, and cold winters. The addition of sewage sludge decreased the abundance of annuals in the long-term, seemed to promote competition between annuals and other functional groups at an interannual scale, and mitigated the negative effects of drought and cold.

Conclusions: Fertilisation influences differently the temporal response of annuals to climate fluctuations and plant-to-plant interactions.

Funding

Fundación Caja Navarra, Award: ref. 10833 (Programa Tú Eliges, Tú Decides)

Universidad de Navarra, Award: Project Biodiversity Data Analytics and Environmental Quality

Universidad de Navarra, Award: ROBIN (Red de Observatorios de la Biodiversidad de Navarra)

Asociación de Amigos de la Universidad de Navarra, Award: Convocatoria de Ayudas para la Formación del Personal Investigador

Departamento de Educación, Gobierno de Navarra, Award: Ayudas predoctorales para la realización de programas de doctorado de interés para Navarra

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Award: RyC2020-030647-I

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Award: PIE-20223AT003