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 November 27, 2014 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. 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