Species asynchrony stabilises productivity under extreme drought across Northern China grasslands

Taofeek O. Muraina, Chong Xu, Qiang Yu, Yadong Yang, Minghui Jing, Xiaotong Jia, Md Shahariar Jaman, Quockhanh Dam, Alan K. Knapp, Scott L. Collins, Yiqi Luo, Wentao Luo, Xiaoan Zuo, Xiaoping Xin, Xingguo Han, Melinda D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biodiversity can stabilise productivity through different mechanisms, such as asynchronous species responses to environmental variability and species stability. Global changes, like intensified drought, could negatively affect species richness, species asynchrony and species stability, but it is unclear how changes in these mechanisms will affect the stability of above-ground primary productivity (ANPP) across ecosystems. We studied the effects of a 4-year extreme drought on ANPP stability and the underlying mechanisms (species richness, species asynchrony and species stability) across six grasslands in Northern China. We also assessed the relative importance of these mechanisms in determining ANPP stability under extreme drought. We found that extreme drought decreased ANPP stability, species richness, species asynchrony and species stability across the six grasslands. However, structural equation modelling revealed that species asynchrony, not species richness or species stability, was the most important mechanism promoting stability of ANPP, regardless of drought across the six grasslands. Synthesis. Our results suggest that species asynchrony, not species richness and species stability, consistently buffers ecosystem stability against extreme drought across and within grasslands spanning a broad precipitation gradient. Thus, species asynchrony may be a more general mechanism for promoting stability of ANPP in grasslands in the face of intensified drought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1665-1675
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume109
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • above-ground productivity
  • biodiversity
  • coordinated experiments
  • ecosystem function and structure
  • Eurasia steppe
  • global change ecology
  • grassland communities
  • terrestrial ecosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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