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Effect of subordinate plant species on plant and soil community structure and ecosystem function

English title Effect of subordinate plant species on plant and soil community structure and ecosystem function
Applicant Buttler Alexandre
Number 114139
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut fédéral de recherches WSL Site de Lausanne
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.01.2008 - 31.03.2012
Approved amount 280'654.00
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Keywords (6)

biodiversity loss; ecosystem function; subordinate plant species; belowground communities; disturbance; stress release

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Humans are altering the composition of biological communities through a variety of activities that increase rates of species invasions and/or species extinctions, at all scales, from local to global. These changes in components of biodiversity have a strong potential to alter ecosystem properties. In plant communities subordinate species (locally non-dominant species) that collectively compose the main part of the diversity, are generally at greater risk for extinction due their small population sizes. The role of subordinate plant species for the maintenance of ecosystem functions (e.g., production), for the resistance of plant communities against change in resource availability (e.g., drought, fertilization) and for the maintenance of the diversity of belowground organisms (e.g., protists, bacteria, fungi) and their function has recently received increasing attention, but remains poorly known. Understanding the impact of the present loss of biodiversity on ecosystem functions is a key challenge in ecology. If diversity per se can be shown to have a critical role on ecosystem functions, this can be, together with ethical and aesthetic reasons a crucial argument to increase present biodiversity conservation efforts. Moreover, understanding the link between above and belowground diversity is one of the main present challenges in ecology. While this research addresses primarily purely scientific questions, its broader impact on the management of biodiversity and natural plant communities could be significant.Specific aims are:• To assess the role of subordinate plant species on the structure and functioning of the above- and below-ground components of a grassland ecosystem by using a removal experiment.• To assess experimentally the influence of subordinate plant species on the response of above- and belowground components of the ecosystem to resource limitation (drought).• To initiate a long-term experiment in the same site, with possible extension to other ecosystem processes (e.g., nutrient stress release by N or P addition, invasibility) and components (e.g., nematodes, earthworms, flagellates).A field experiment will be carried out on permanent plots in a species-rich grazed meadow of the Swiss Jura Mountains. The effect of subordinate plant species (frequent but never dominant in the plant community) will be assessed through a three-level factor: (1) removal of subordinate plant species; (2) removal of similar biomass of dominant plant species; (3) control without removal. The effect of resource limitation will be assessed through a two-level factor: (1) drought; (2) control. Plant composition, functional traits and biomass will be monitored during the ongoing experiment. Belowground diversity will be identified by monitoring three groups with contrasted functional roles in the soil food web: bacteria, fungi and testate amoebae. Moreover, direct measurements of key soil processes (respiration, decomposition) will be done.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Subordinate plant species moderate drought effects on earthworms communities in grasslands
Mariotte Pierre, Le Bayon Renee-Claire, Eisenhauer Nico, Guenat Claire, Buttler Alexandre (2016), Subordinate plant species moderate drought effects on earthworms communities in grasslands, in Soil Biology & Biochemistry, (96), 119-127.
Subordinate plants mitigate drought effects on soil ecosystem processes by stimulating fungi
Mariotte P., Robroek B.J.M., Jassey V.E.J., Buttler A. (2015), Subordinate plants mitigate drought effects on soil ecosystem processes by stimulating fungi, in Functional Ecology, 29, 1578-1586.
Do subordinate plant species punch above their weight? Evidence from above and belowground
Mariotte P. (2014), Do subordinate plant species punch above their weight? Evidence from above and belowground, in New Phytologist, 203, 16-21.
Grasslands in silvopastoral mountain ecosystems
Buttler A. (2014), Grasslands in silvopastoral mountain ecosystems, in Mariotte P. & Kardol. (ed.), Nova Publisher, New York, 187-217.
Pattern and processes at various spatio-temporal scales and adaptation to climate change
Buttler A., Peringer A. (2014), Pattern and processes at various spatio-temporal scales and adaptation to climate change, in Hartel T. & T. Plieninger (ed.), Routledge, London & New York, 90-109.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species.
Mariotte P, Meugnier C., Johnson D., Thébault A, Spiegelberger T, Buttler A (2013), Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce the differences in competitiveness between dominant and subordinate plant species., in Mycorrhiza, 23, 267-277.
How do subordinate and dominant species in semi-natural mountain grasslands relate to productivity and land-use change
Mariotte P., Buttler A, Kohler F., Gilgen A., Spiegelberger T. (2013), How do subordinate and dominant species in semi-natural mountain grasslands relate to productivity and land-use change, in Basic and Applied Ecology , 14(3), 217-224.
Subordinate plant species enhance community resistance against drought in semi-natural grasslands.
Mariotte P., Vandenberghe Ch., Kardol. P., Hagedorn F, Buttler A. (2013), Subordinate plant species enhance community resistance against drought in semi-natural grasslands., in Journal of Ecology, 101(3), 763-773.
Subordinate plant species impact on soil microbial communities and ecosystem functioning in grasslands: findings from a removal experiment.
Mariotte P, Vandenberghe C., Meugnier C., Bardgett R.D., Buttler A. (2013), Subordinate plant species impact on soil microbial communities and ecosystem functioning in grasslands: findings from a removal experiment., in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 15, 77-85.
Effects of Subordinate Plant Species in Plant and Soil Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning
Mariotte Pierre (2012), Effects of Subordinate Plant Species in Plant and Soil Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning, in EPFL PhD Thesis, 1.
Conservation des pâturages boisés du Jura: défis climatiques et agro-politiques
Buttler A., Gavazov K., Peringer A., Siehoff S., Mariotte P., Wettstein J.-B., Chételat J., Huber R., Gillet F., Spiegelberger T. (2012), Conservation des pâturages boisés du Jura: défis climatiques et agro-politiques, in Recherche Agronomique Suisse, 3(7-8), 346-353.
Exclusion of root competition increases competitive abilities of subordinate plant species through root-shoot interactions
Mariotte P, Buttler A., Jonhson D., Thébault A., Vandenberghe C. (2012), Exclusion of root competition increases competitive abilities of subordinate plant species through root-shoot interactions, in Journal of Vegetation Science, 23(6), 1148-1158.
How do plant community ecologists consider the complementarity of observational, experimental and theoretical modelling approaches
Spiegelberger T., Gillet F., Amiaud B., Thébault A., Mariotte P., Buttler A. (2012), How do plant community ecologists consider the complementarity of observational, experimental and theoretical modelling approaches, in Plant Ecology and Evolution, 145(1), 4-12.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Aberdeen Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden (Europe)
- Publication
Lancaster University Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Department of Environmental Sciences - Weekly Meeting Individual talk Do subordinate plant species punch above their weight ? Importance of plant-soil feedbacks 17.04.2015 Sydney, NSW, Australia Mariotte Pierre;
Meeting of the Laboratory ECODIV Individual talk Subordonnées mais fonctionnelles : rôle des interactions sol-plantes 26.03.2014 Rouen , France Mariotte Pierre;
INTECOL 2013, 11th Congress, Ecology: Into the next 100 years Talk given at a conference Subordinate plant species maintain plant and soil communities and improve ecosystem functioning during drought in semi-natural grasslands 18.08.2013 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mariotte Pierre; Buttler Alexandre;
Ecological Society of America (ESA), 97th Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Subordinate plant species enhance community insurance to drought in semi-natural grasslands 05.08.2012 Portland, Oregon, United States of America Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte;
ECOVEG 8, 8th Conference of Plant Community Ecology Talk given at a conference Rôle des espèces subordonnées dans le fonctionnement de l'écosystème de prairie semi-naturelle du Jura Suisse 28.03.2012 Nancy, France, France Rossi Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre;
54th Symposium of the International Association of Vegetation Science Talk given at a conference Subordinate plant species promote resistance of plant community during summer drought 20.06.2011 Lyon, France, France Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre;
ECOVEG 7, 7th Conference of Plant Community Ecology Poster Rôle des espèces végétales subordonnées dans la résistance des communautés face au stress hydrique 30.03.2011 Lausanne, Switzerland Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte;
Networks of Power and Influence. A one day Symposium on Symbiotic Associations between Plants and Mycorrhizal Fungi Poster Subordinate species and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: Preferential symbiosis interactions? 22.09.2010 Reckenholz, Switzerland, Switzerland Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre; Mitchell Edward;
ECOLOGIE 2010 Talk given at a conference Espèces subordonnées et champignons mycorrhiziens: symbiose préférentielle? 02.09.2010 Montpellier, France, France Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre; Mitchell Edward;
7th European Conference on Ecological Restoration Talk given at a conference Subordinate species and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: Preferential symbiosis interactions? 23.08.2010 Avignon, France, France Mariotte Pierre; Mitchell Edward; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre;
7th European Conference on Ecological Restoration Talk given at a conference Ranking of plant species: from dominant to subordinate, what's the effect of root competition? 23.08.2010 Avignon, France Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre;
ECOVEG 6, 6th Conference of Plant Community Ecology Talk given at a conference Hiérarchie d'espèces végétales: de dominante à subordonnée, quel rôle de la compétition racinaire? 31.03.2010 Rouen, France, France Buttler Alexandre; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Mariotte Pierre;
Starters in het natuuronderzoek Talk given at a conference De rol van niet dominante planten in begraasde soortenrijke graslanden in het Zwitserse Juragebergte 18.03.2010 Brussels, Belgium, Belgium Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte; Buttler Alexandre;
Green Days of Environmental Engineering Institute (IEE) Poster What makes a plant dominant or subordinates in community? Common garden test of pairwise interactions and above and belowground competition 03.09.2009 Arolla, Switzerland, Switzerland Mariotte Pierre; Buttler Alexandre; Vandenberghe Charlotte;
ECOVEG 5 , 5th Conference of Plant Community Ecology Talk given at a conference Rôle des plantes suboronnées dans la structure des communautés végétales et sur le fonctionnement de l'écosystème pâturage 08.04.2009 Gembloux, Belgique, Belgium Buttler Alexandre; Mariotte Pierre; Vandenberghe Charlotte;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
ECOVEG 7, 7th Conference of Plant Community Ecology 30.03.2011 Lausanne, Switzerland, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Chaque espèce compte Horizons, journal du SNF Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Each species is important Annual Report of Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2011
Talks/events/exhibitions Workshop on Biodiversity International 2010

Awards

Title Year
Prix du meilleur Poster 2011

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