Direct effects dominate responses to climate perturbations in grassland plant communities

TitleDirect effects dominate responses to climate perturbations in grassland plant communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsChu C, Kleinhesselink AR, Havstad K, McClaran MP, Peters DC, Vermeire LT, Wei H, Adler PB
JournalNature Communications
Pagination1-10
Accession NumberJRN00648
ARIS Log Number328527
Keywordsblack grama grass, Bouteloua eripoda, chart quadrat data, climate change, climate perturbations, environmental change, grass communities, model
Abstract

Theory predicts that strong indirect effects of environmental change will impact communities when niche differences between competitors are small and variation in the direct effects experienced by competitors is large, but empirical tests are lacking. Here we estimate negative frequency dependence, a proxy for niche differences, and quantify the direct and indirect effects of climate change on each species. Consistent with theory, in four of five communities indirect effects are strongest for species showing weak negative frequency dependence. Indirect effects are also stronger in communities where there is greater variation in direct effects. Overall responses to climate perturbations are driven primarily by direct effects, suggesting that single species models may be adequate for forecasting the impacts of climate change in these communities.

URL/files/bibliography/16-016.pdf
DOI10.1038/ncomms11766