Relationships between diversity and compositional stability in experimental grassland communities exposed to drought stress

Abstract

Artificial grassland plots with various degrees of diversity were established near Heishiding Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province, China. After an establishment phase of one year, one half of each plot was exposed to drought stress in order to explore the relationship between diversity and compositional stability of the grassland communities. The experiment showed that relationships between diversity and compositional stability varied with the diversity values in non-stressed control subplots and the duration of drought disturbance. When control subplots had higher evenness, species richness negatively affected compositional stability, which led to a negative relationship between diversity and compositional stability. When control subplots had lower evenness, compositional stability was determined by evenness or species identity (particular species) at different periods of drought disturbance. This resulted in negative, weakly positive or no relationships between diversity and compositional stability. Based on these results, we suggest that different relationships between diversity and compositional stability, and controversial data from such relationships in previous studies may reflect differences in environmental and experimental conditions.

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Wang, J., Wang, Y. & Yu, S. Relationships between diversity and compositional stability in experimental grassland communities exposed to drought stress. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 11, 105–112 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.11.2010.1.15

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Keywords

  • Compositional stability
  • Dominant species
  • Evenness
  • Species richness