Species loss due to nutrient addition increases with spatial scale in global grasslands

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Eric W. Seabloom
  • Evan Batzer
  • Jonathan M. Chase
  • W. Stanley Harpole
  • Peter B. Adler
  • Sumanta Bagchi
  • Jonathan D. Bakker
  • Isabel C. Barrio
  • Lori Biederman
  • Elizabeth H. Boughton
  • Miguel N. Bugalho
  • Maria C. Caldeira
  • Jane A. Catford
  • Pedro Daleo
  • Nico Eisenhauer
  • Anu Eskelinen
  • Lauren M. Hallett
  • Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir
  • Kaitlin Kimmel
  • Marirose Kuhlman
  • Andrew MacDougall
  • Cecilia D. Molina
  • Joslin L. Moore
  • John W. Morgan
  • Ranjan Muthukrishnan
  • Timothy Ohlert
  • Anita C. Risch
  • Christiane Roscher
  • Martin Schütz
  • Grégory Sonnier
  • Pedro M. Tognetti
  • Risto Virtanen
  • Peter A. Wilfahrt
  • Elizabeth T. Borer

The effects of altered nutrient supplies and herbivore density on species diversity vary with spatial scale, because coexistence mechanisms are scale dependent. This scale dependence may alter the shape of the species–area relationship (SAR), which can be described by changes in species richness (S) as a power function of the sample area (A): S = cAz, where c and z are constants. We analysed the effects of experimental manipulations of nutrient supply and herbivore density on species richness across a range of scales (0.01–75 m2) at 30 grasslands in 10 countries. We found that nutrient addition reduced the number of species that could co-occur locally, indicated by the SAR intercepts (log c), but did not affect the SAR slopes (z). As a result, proportional species loss due to nutrient enrichment was largely unchanged across sampling scales, whereas total species loss increased over threefold across our range of sampling scales.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2100-2112
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2021
Externally publishedYes

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