Ecology and Evolution
1. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function analyses aim to explain how individual spe‐ cies and their interactions affect ecosystem function. With this study, we asked in what ways do species interact, are these interactions affected by species planting pattern, and are initial (planted) proportions or previous year (realized) propor‐ tions a better reference point for characterizing grassland diversity effects?
2. We addressed these questions with experimental communities compiled from a pool of 16 tallgrass prairie species. We planted all species in monocultures and mixtures that varied in their species richness, evenness, and spatial pattern. We recorded species‐specific biomass production over three growing seasons and fit‐ ted Diversity‐Interactions (DI) models to annual plot biomass yields.
3. In the establishment season, all species interacted equally to form the diversity effect. In years 2 and 3, each species contributed a unique additive coefficient to its interaction with every other species to form the diversity effect. These inter‐ actions were affected by Helianthus maximiliani and the species planting pattern. Models based on species planted proportions better‐fit annual plot yield than models based on species previous contributions to plot biomass.
4. Outcomes suggest that efforts to plant tallgrass prairies to maximize diversity ef‐ fects should focus on the specific species present and in what arrangement they are planted. Furthermore, for particularly diverse grasslands, the effort of collect‐ ing annual species biomass data may not be necessary when quantifying diversity effects with DI models.
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Thomas P. McKenna, Jack McDonnell, Kathryn A. Yurkonis, et al.. "Helianthus maximiliani and Species Fine-Scale Spatial Pattern Affect Diversity Interactions in Reconstructed Tallgrass Prairies" (2019). Biology Faculty Publications. 14.