Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Fertilization Results In Loss Of Plant Biodiversity

Date:
May 1, 2009
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
Fertilized grasslands are more productive but poorer in species. Researchers have now identified the mechanisms that lead to loss of biodiversity through fertilization. The new results show that nutrient enrichment of grasslands must be more strongly controlled if plant diversity is to be preserved.

When grasslands are fertilized their productivity is increased but their plant diversity is diminished. In the last 50 years levels of plant-available nitrogen and phosphorus have doubled worldwide. This additional supply of plant nutrients is predicted to be one of the three most important causes of biodiversity loss this century.

Related Articles


The research, led by Professor Andy Hector from the University of Zurich, shows for the first time the exact mechanisms that lead to the loss of biodiversity from grasslands following fertilization.

Competition Following the 'Winner-takes-all' Principle

Different plant species profit from nutrient addition to different degrees with some species growing much faster than before. Consequently, some understory species are overgrown by their faster growing neighbours, shaded and without access to sufficient sunlight eventually die out. With the help Pascal Niklaus from the ETH Zurich, researchers from the University of Zurich established an ingenious experiment where they added artifical light to the understory of fertilized grasslands.

This additional light countered the negative effects of fertilization and prevented the loss of plant diversity. Counter to earlier beliefs, competition for soil nutrients had no influence on changes in grassland diversity.

"This study is the first direct experimental proof that competition for light is the main mechanism of plant biodiversity loss after fertilization,"says Yann Hautier summarizing the results of his PhD work. "The addition of nutrients causes competition for the vital sunlight to follow a 'winner-takes-all' principle."

Consequences for Management of Grasslands

Competition for light following eutrophication is one of the main causes of the loss of plant diversity. The results of the work from Hector's research group have implications for sustainable management of grasslands and for the development of conservation policy. "Our research shows that it is necessary to control nutrient enrichment if plant diversity is to be conserved in the long term" concludes Andy Hector.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yann Hautier, Pascal A. Niklaus, Andrew Hector:. Competition for Light Causes Plant Biodiversity Loss Following Eutrophication. Science, Volume 324, Issue 5927

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Why Fertilization Results In Loss Of Plant Biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430144532.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2009, May 1). Why Fertilization Results In Loss Of Plant Biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430144532.htm
University of Zurich. "Why Fertilization Results In Loss Of Plant Biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430144532.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Newsy (Jan. 27, 2015) — The Food and Agriculture Organization says millions could face famine in Madagascar without more funding to finish locust eradication efforts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins