Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Resource typeDissertation
Title(s)Causes and consequences of plant order of arrival on the structure and functioning of grassland communities
CreatorAlonso-Crespo, Inés María  0009-0004-6636-2140 (Institut für Ökologie, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg  02w2y2t16)
RefereeTemperton, Vicky M.  0000-0003-0543-4521  1229575634
Fichtner, Andreas  0000-0003-0499-4893  1247284387
Knight, Tiffany  0000-0003-0318-1567
AdvisorTemperton, Vicky M.  0000-0003-0543-4521  1229575634
Fichtner, Andreas  0000-0003-0499-4893  1247284387
AbstractGrasslands are widely distributed ecosystems crucial for providing a variety of ecosystem services. Historically, they have been closely associated with humans. Some of the grasslands currently found inEurope are considered "semi-natural," as they have been shaped and managed by humans to support livelihoods through agriculture or livestock services. However, this strong human dependence has placed them at risk due to a growing divergence from traditional uses and management practices that originally fostered these species-rich ecosystems. These grasslands serve as habitats for a diverse range of species and provide important ecosystem services. Nonetheless, restoration efforts often face challenges and limitations. In the case of European grasslands, restoration initiatives must carefully navigate the trade-off between increasing and/or maintaining biodiversity and productivity simultaneously. It is needed to develop research focuses on long-term experiments to assess the factors that impact early stages of community assembly and, therefore, the outcomes of restoration practices. Priority effects are the phenomena that occur when plant species arriving earlier in a community preempt and modify available niches, thereby influencing the establishment or development success of later-arriving species, either positively or negatively. The manipulation of the order of arrival of plant functional groups (PFG) has already been demonstrated to affect ecosystem functioning and community structure. However, it remains unclear to what extent the strength, trajectories, and persistence of priority effects can be influenced by the weather conditions experienced by ecological communities during the initiation year (referred to as "year effects"). Additionally, the role of the mechanisms of priority effects, niche preemption and niche modification, in the creation of these effects is still unknown. In this thesis the results from three experiments are presented. These experiments were conducted to increase the knowledge of how priority and year effects can affect ecosystem functioning, above and belowground, and community composition and diversity in grassland ecosystems. In addition, the importance of the mechanisms of priority effects in their development was investigated. The results showed that 1) PFG order of arrival did not affect productivity above or belowground. 2) However, aboveground productivity was predominantly driven by year effects. 3) The time since establishment had a more significant impact on plant community composition compared to the order of arrival of plant functional groups and the year of initiation. 4) The collective influence of these three factors affected plant diversity, with the effect of PFG order of arrival on plant species richness being contingent on the time since establishment and the year of initiation. 5) PFG order of arrival notably influenced the vertical distribution of roots. Specifically, communities where grasses were introduced first exhibited shallower root systems compared to those where forbs or legumes were introduced first. 6) Soil niche preemption and soil niche modification together are responsible for the creation of priority effects in dry acidic grasslands. Soil niche preemption seemed to be the primary driver, as soil niche modification alone does not yield significant effects on the development of plant functional. Overall, these findings highlight the complex dynamics at play in grassland ecosystems. The order of arrival of plant functional groups combined with year effects, shapes community structure over time. This underscores the enduring influence of ecological timelines on the establishment of grassland communities. Moreover, the primary driver of aboveground productivity is the year effect, emphasizing the need to consider weather conditions in grassland restoration practices. Additionally, the order of arrival of plant functional groups significantly influences the vertical distribution of roots, suggesting possible implications for nutrient cycling and soil stability. Lastly, soil niche preemption and soil niche modification together triggers the creation of priority effects, with soil niche preemption being the predominant driving force in shaping specifically dry acidic grassland systems.
KeywordsÖkosystem; Grasland; Ökologische Funktion; Pflanze-Boden-Beziehung; Produktivität; Biodiversität; Ecosystem; Grasslands; Ecological Function; Plant-Soil Feedback; Productivity; Biodiversity
Date of defense2024-04-19
Year of publication in PubData2024
Publishing typeFirst publication
Date issued2024-05-27
Creation contextResearch
Granting InstitutionLeuphana Universität Lüneburg
Published byMedien- und Informationszentrum, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Related resources Relations of this publication
Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 

MD5: 650c77ffc92d76e8526a007083902318

13.29 MB

Adobe PDF

Items in PubData are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Citation formats
Access statistics

Page view(s): 21

Download(s): 2