Dominance hierarchies, diversity and species richness of vascular plants in an alpine meadow: contrasting short and medium term responses to simulated global change

Download
Juha M. Alatalo
Chelsea, J. Little
Annika Jägerbrand
Ulf Molau

We studied the impact of simulated global change on a high alpine meadow plant community. Specifically, we examined whether short-term (5 years) responses are good predictors for medium-term (7 years) changes in the system by applying a factorial warming and nutrient manipulation to 20 plots in Latnjajaure, subarctic Sweden. Seven years of experimental warming and nutrient enhancement caused dramatic shifts in dominance hierarchies in response to the nutrient and the combined warming and nutrient enhancement treatments. Dominance hierarchies in the meadow moved from a community being dominated by cushion plants, deciduous, and evergreen shrubs to a community being dominated by grasses, sedges, and forbs. Short-term responses were shown to be inconsistent in their ability to predict medium-term responses for most functional groups, however, grasses showed a consistent and very substantial increase in response to nutrient addition over the seven years.

The non-linear responses over time point out the importance of longer-term studies with repeated measurements to be able to better predict future changes. Forecasted changes to temperature and nutrient availability have implications for trophic interactions, and may ultimately influence the access to and palatability of the forage for grazers. Depending on what anthropogenic change will be most pronounced in the future (increase in nutrient deposits, warming, or a combination of them both), different shifts in community dominance hierarchies may occur. Generally, this study supports the productivity–diversity relationship found across arctic habitats, with community diversity peaking in mid-productivity systems and degrading as nutrient availability increases further. This is likely due the increasing competition in plant–plant interactions and the shifting dominance structure with grasses taking over the experimental plots, suggesting that global change could have high costs to biodiversity in the Arctic.

MEET US


5-6
Dec

Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region

The conference Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region is held i Vilnius, Lithuania. VTI is part of the organisation committé and also one of the speakers.

LATEST NEWS


2018-08-28

EU project protects cyclists and pedestrians

According to the World Health Organisation, more than one quarter of road traffic fatalities in 2010 were pedestrians and cyclists. Every year, about 335,000 unprotected road users die because of traffic accidents, which shows the scale of the problem. The EU...


2018-08-21

Swedish organisations in EU project on traffic safety and crash testing

Crash safety testing is one of the tools used to improve safety on roads. The EU is therefore funding a research project that started recently to develop virtual methods of crash testing. The long-term goal is to supplement the physical evaluation of crash...


2018-06-13

International Conference on Electric Road Systems starts today

Electric Road Systems (ERS) is a relatively new concept with many initiatives on the way. To learn from each other and stimulate new collaborations the Swedish Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads arranged the first international conference...


2018-05-18

Same survey of road users’ attitudes in 50 countries

At the Road Safety on Five Continents Conference, RS5C, one entire session presented a large survey of road users' attitudes in 38 countries. Results show large differences between countries in many areas, both regarding behavior and attitudes. A new survey...


2018-05-17

Good results with alcohol interlock program according to Swedish study

An alcohol interlock program makes it possible for drink driving offenders to continue their everyday lives. In a Swedish study most of the participants were satisfied with the program and experienced improved health. They also reported drinking alcohol more...


2018-05-16

Traffic safety in the spotlight

Today the Conference Road Safety on Five Continents (RS5C) opened in Jeju Island, South Korea. More than 220 participators have come from all over the world to present findings and learn about traffic safety. Dr. Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the...