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Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands

(2017) NATURE PLANTS. 3(2).
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Abstract
Species diversity is commonly hypothesized to result from trade-offs for different limiting resources, providing separate niches for coexisting species(1-4). As soil nutrients occur in multiple chemical forms, plant differences in acquisition of the same element derived from different compounds may represent unique niche dimensions(5,6). Because plant productivity of ecosystems is often limited by phosphorus(7), and because plants have evolved diverse adaptations to acquire soil phosphorus(6,8), a promising yet untested hypothesis is phosphorus resource partitioning(6,9,10). Here, we provided two different chemical forms of phosphorus to sown grassland mesocosms to investigate phosphorus acquisition of eight plant species that are common in European grasslands, and to identify subsequent patterns of plant abundance. For the first time, we show that the relative abundance of grassland plant species can be influenced by soil phosphorus forms, as higher abundance was linked to higher acquisition of a specific form of phosphorus. These results were supported by a subsequent isotope dilution experiment using intact grassland sods that were treated with different inorganic or organic phosphorus forms. Here, 5 out of 14 species showed greater phosphorus acquisition in the inorganic phosphorus treatment, and 4 in the organic phosphorus treatments. Furthermore, for the species used in both experiments we found similar acquisition patterns. Our results support the hypothesis of phosphorus resource partitioning and may provide a new mechanistic framework to explain high plant diversity in phosphorus-poor ecosystems(6,11-13). As world biodiversity hotspots are almost invariably related to phosphorus limitation(8,11,12), our results may thus also be key to understanding biodiversity loss in an era of ever-increasing nutrient enrichment(14).
Keywords
SOIL-PHOSPHORUS, LIMITATION, DIVERSITY, NICHE, PRODUCTIVITY, COEXISTENCE, NITROGEN, WATER

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Chicago
Ceulemans, Tobias, Samuel Bodé, Jessica Bollyn, Stanley Harpole, Kristin Coorevits, Gerrit Peeters, Kasper Van Acker, Erik Smolders, Pascal Boeckx, and Olivier Honnay. 2017. “Phosphorus Resource Partitioning Shapes Phosphorus Acquisition and Plant Species Abundance in Grasslands.” Nature Plants 3 (2).
APA
Ceulemans, T., Bodé, S., Bollyn, J., Harpole, S., Coorevits, K., Peeters, G., Van Acker, K., et al. (2017). Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands. NATURE PLANTS, 3(2).
Vancouver
1.
Ceulemans T, Bodé S, Bollyn J, Harpole S, Coorevits K, Peeters G, et al. Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands. NATURE PLANTS. 2017;3(2).
MLA
Ceulemans, Tobias et al. “Phosphorus Resource Partitioning Shapes Phosphorus Acquisition and Plant Species Abundance in Grasslands.” NATURE PLANTS 3.2 (2017): n. pag. Print.
@article{8520887,
  abstract     = {Species diversity is commonly hypothesized to result from trade-offs for different limiting resources, providing separate niches for coexisting species(1-4). As soil nutrients occur in multiple chemical forms, plant differences in acquisition of the same element derived from different compounds may represent unique niche dimensions(5,6). Because plant productivity of ecosystems is often limited by phosphorus(7), and because plants have evolved diverse adaptations to acquire soil phosphorus(6,8), a promising yet untested hypothesis is phosphorus resource partitioning(6,9,10). Here, we provided two different chemical forms of phosphorus to sown grassland mesocosms to investigate phosphorus acquisition of eight plant species that are common in European grasslands, and to identify subsequent patterns of plant abundance. For the first time, we show that the relative abundance of grassland plant species can be influenced by soil phosphorus forms, as higher abundance was linked to higher acquisition of a specific form of phosphorus. These results were supported by a subsequent isotope dilution experiment using intact grassland sods that were treated with different inorganic or organic phosphorus forms. Here, 5 out of 14 species showed greater phosphorus acquisition in the inorganic phosphorus treatment, and 4 in the organic phosphorus treatments. Furthermore, for the species used in both experiments we found similar acquisition patterns. Our results support the hypothesis of phosphorus resource partitioning and may provide a new mechanistic framework to explain high plant diversity in phosphorus-poor ecosystems(6,11-13). As world biodiversity hotspots are almost invariably related to phosphorus limitation(8,11,12), our results may thus also be key to understanding biodiversity loss in an era of ever-increasing nutrient enrichment(14).},
  articleno    = {16224},
  author       = {Ceulemans, Tobias and Bodé, Samuel and Bollyn, Jessica and Harpole, Stanley and Coorevits, Kristin and Peeters, Gerrit and Van Acker, Kasper and Smolders, Erik and Boeckx, Pascal and Honnay, Olivier},
  issn         = {2055-026X},
  journal      = {NATURE PLANTS},
  keywords     = {SOIL-PHOSPHORUS,LIMITATION,DIVERSITY,NICHE,PRODUCTIVITY,COEXISTENCE,NITROGEN,WATER},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {7},
  title        = {Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.224},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2017},
}

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