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Herbaceous plant community dynamics and ecosystem

Principal Investigator: Elsa Cleland

Our experiment at Sierra Foothill is one of more than 70 replicated experiments on 6 continents in the globally-distributed Nutrient Network

One goal of this project is to contribute towards a general understanding of grassland biodiversity and productivity and their dependence on changing environmental factors.

Recent published results include

  1. Exotic plant species do not generally become more abundant in their invaded ranges compared to their home range;
  2. Plant biomass does not predict how many species can coexist, challenging a longstanding belief that these should be related;
  3. The relationship between plant biomass produced over the growing season and what is lost by decomposition depends strongly on environmental factors, with implications for carbon storage; and
  4. We found evidence for a trade off between plant growth and herbivore defense that may contribute to maintaining grassland biodiversity.

Click HERE to read about this Project