Drought and grazing combined: Contrasting shifts in plant interactions at species pair and community level

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Título: Drought and grazing combined: Contrasting shifts in plant interactions at species pair and community level
Autor/es: Verwijmeren, Mart | Rietkerk, Max | Bautista, Susana | Mayor, Angeles G. | Wassen, Martin J. | Smit, Christian
Grupo/s de investigación o GITE: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Centro, Departamento o Servicio: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Palabras clave: Competition | Co-occurrence analysis | Facilitation | Stress Gradient Hypothesis
Área/s de conocimiento: Ecología
Fecha de publicación: dic-2014
Editor: Elsevier
Cita bibliográfica: Journal of Arid Environments. 2014, 111: 53-60. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.08.001
Resumen: The combined effects of drought stress and grazing pressure on shaping plant–plant interactions are still poorly understood, while this combination is common in arid ecosystems. In this study we assessed the relative effect of grazing pressure and slope aspect (drought stress) on vegetation cover and soil functioning in semi-arid Mediterranean grassland–shrublands in southeastern Spain. Moreover, we linked these two stress factors to plant co-occurrence patterns at species-pair and community levels, by performing C-score analyses. Vegetation cover and soil functioning decreased with higher grazing pressure and more south-facing (drier) slopes. At the community level, plants at south-facing slopes were negatively associated at no grazing but positively associated at low grazing pressure and randomly associated at high grazing pressure. At north-facing slopes, grazing did not result in a shift in the direction of the association. In contrast, analysis of pairwise species co-occurrence patterns showed that the dominant species Stipa tenacissima and Anthyllis cytisoides shifted from excluding each other to co-occurring with increasing grazing pressure at north-facing slopes. Our findings highlight that for improved understanding of plant interactions along stress gradients, interactions between species pairs and interactions at the community level should be assessed, as these may reveal contrasting results.
Patrocinador/es: This study is supported by a NWO e ALW ‘open competition’ grant. (Netherlands Science Foundation e Earth and Life Sciences, project number 820.01.020). The research of MR, AGM and SB is also supported by the project CASCADE (Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007e2013 grant agreement 283068) and by the research project FEEDBACK (Grant #CGL2011-30515- C02-01) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/45573
ISSN: 0140-1963 (Print) | 1095-922X (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.08.001
Idioma: eng
Tipo: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Derechos: © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Revisión científica: si
Versión del editor: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.08.001
Aparece en las colecciones:Investigaciones financiadas por la UE
INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas

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