Facilitative plant interactions and climate simultaneously drive alpine plant diversity

Cavieres, Lohen and Brooker, Rob and Butterfiled, Brad and Cook, Brad and Kikvidze, Zaal and Lortie, Chris and Michalet, Richard and Pugnaire, Francisco and Schöb, Christian and Xiao, S. and Anthelme, F. and Björk, R. and Dickinson, K. and Cranston, B. and Gavilán, R. and Gutiérrez-Girón, A. and Kanka, R. and Maaluf, J.-P. and Mark, A. and Noroozi, J. and Parajuli, R. and Phoenix, G. and Reid, A. and Ridenour, W and Rixen, C. and Wipf, S. and Zhao, L. and Escudero, A. and Zaitchek, B. and Lingua, E. and Aschehoug, E. and Callaway, Ray (2014) Facilitative plant interactions and climate simultaneously drive alpine plant diversity. Ecology Letters, 17. pp. 193-202. ISSN 1461-0248

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Interactions among species determine local-scale diversity, but local interactions are thought to have minor effects at larger scales. However, quantitative comparisons of the importance of biotic interactions relative to other drivers are rarely made at larger scales. Using a data set spanning 78 sites and five continents, we assessed the relative importance of biotic interactions and climate in determining plant diversity in alpine ecosystems dominated by nurse-plant cushion species. Climate variables related with water balance showed the highest correlation with richness at the global scale. Strikingly, although the effect of cushion species on diversity was lower than that of climate, its contribution was still substantial. In particular, cushion species enhanced species richness more in systems with inherently impoverished local diversity. Nurse species appear to act as a ‘safety net’ sustaining diversity under harsh conditions, demonstrating that climate and species interactions should be integrated when predicting future biodiversity effects of climate change.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > Ecology
Divisions: Institutes > 4D Research Institute
Depositing User: Prof. Zaal Kikvidze
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 05:55
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 05:55
URI: http://eprints.iliauni.edu.ge/id/eprint/2076

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