Yann Hautier, Utrecht University
Pengfei Zhang, Utrecht University
Michel Loreau, Centre national de la recherche scientifique
Kevin R. Wilcox, University of Wyoming
Eric W. Seabloom, University of Minnesota
Elizabeth T. Borer, University of Minnesota
Jarrett E.K. Byrnes, University of Massachusetts Boston
Sally E. Koerner, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Kimberly J. Komatsu, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Jonathan S. Lefcheck, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Andy Hector, Oxford University
Peter B. Adler, Utah State UniversityFollow
Juan Alberti, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Carlos A. Arnillas, University of Toronto at Scarborough
Jonathan D. Bakker, University of Washington
Lars A. Brudvig, Michigan State University
Miguel N. Bugalho, University of Lisbon
Marc Cadotte, University of Toronto at Scarborough
Maria C. Caldeira, University of Lisbon
Oliver Carroll, University of Guelph
Mick Crawley, Imperial College London
Scott L. Collins, University of New Mexico
Pedro Daleo, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Laura E. Dee, University of Colorado at Boulder
Nico Eisenhauer, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
Anu Eskelinen, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
Philip A. Fay, USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil, and Water Research Laboratory
Benjamin Gilbert, University of Toronto
Amandine Hansar, Paris Sciences et Lettres University
Forest Isbell, University of Minnesota
Johannes M.H. Knops, Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University
Andrew S. MacDougall, University of Guelph
Rebecca L. McCulley, University of Kentucky
Joslin L. Moore, Monash University, Clayton Campus
John W. Morgan, La Trobe University
Akira S. Mori, Yokohama National University
Pablo L. Peri, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral
Edwin T. Pos, Utrecht University
Sally A. Power, Western Sydney University
Jodi N. Price, Charles Sturt University
Peter B. Reich, Western Sydney University
Anita C. Risch, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Christiane Roscher, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
Mahesh Sankaran, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Martin Schütz, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Melinda Smith, Colorado State University
Carly Stevens, Lancaster University
Pedro M. Tognetti, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Risto Virtanen, University of Oulu
Glenda M. Wardle, University of Sydney
Peter A. Wilfahrt, University of Wyoming
Shaopeng Wang, Peking University

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Nature Communications




Nature Publishing Group

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Eutrophication is a widespread environmental change that usually reduces the stabilizing effect of plant diversity on productivity in local communities. Whether this effect is scale dependent remains to be elucidated. Here, we determine the relationship between plant diversity and temporal stability of productivity for 243 plant communities from 42 grasslands across the globe and quantify the effect of chronic fertilization on these relationships. Unfertilized local communities with more plant species exhibit greater asynchronous dynamics among species in response to natural environmental fluctuations, resulting in greater local stability (alpha stability). Moreover, neighborhood communities that have greater spatial variation in plant species composition within sites (higher beta diversity) have greater spatial asynchrony of productivity among communities, resulting in greater stability at the larger scale (gamma stability). Importantly, fertilization consistently weakens the contribution of plant diversity to both of these stabilizing mechanisms, thus diminishing the positive effect of biodiversity on stability at differing spatial scales. Our findings suggest that preserving grassland functional stability requires conservation of plant diversity within and among ecological communities.