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Ecosystem responses to increased variability in rainfall, a prediction of general circulation models, were assessed in native grassland by reducing storm frequency and increasing rainfall quantity per storm during a 4-year experiment. More extreme rainfall patterns, without concurrent changes in total rainfall quantity, increased temporal variability in(More)
Water availability limits plant growth and production in almost all terrestrial ecosystems. However, biomes differ substantially in sensitivity of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) to between-year variation in precipitation. Average rain-use efficiency (RUE; ANPP/precipitation) also varies between biomes, supposedly because of differences in(More)
uman activities have caused dramatic and unprecedented changes in the global chemical and physical environment, including well-documented increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2) concentration and mean annual temperature (Karl and Knight 1998, New et al. 2001, IPCC 2007). If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at present rates, atmospheric(More)
Climate change forecasts of more frequent climate extremes suggest that such events will become increasingly important drivers of future ecosystem dynamics and function. Because the rarity and unpredictability of naturally occurring climate extremes limits assessment of their ecological impacts, we experimentally imposed extreme drought and a midsummer heat(More)
Theoretical analyses and experimental studies of synthesized assemblages indicate that under particular circumstances species diversity can enhance community productivity through niche complementarity. It remains unclear whether this process has important effects in mature natural ecosystems where competitive feedbacks and complex environmental influences(More)
41 For more than 30 years, the relationship between net primary productivity and species richness has generated intense debate in ecology about the processes regulating local diversity. The original view, which is still widely accepted, holds that the relationship is hump-shaped, with richness first rising and then declining with increasing productivity.(More)
Trophic structure, or the distribution of biomass among producers and consumers, determines key ecosystem values, such as the abundance of infectious, harvestable or conservation target species, and the storage and cycling of carbon and nutrients. There has been much debate on what controls ecosystem trophic structure, yet the answer is still elusive. Here(More)
E cology as a science began well over a century ago, when it was based primarily on observational studies (McIntosh 1985). Toward the end of the 20th century, this led to a more experimental, reductionist approach, focused on testing hypotheses and developing theories. Controlled manipulative experiments have shaped our understanding of ecological(More)
How ecosystem productivity and species richness are interrelated is one of the most debated subjects in the history of ecology. Decades of intensive study have yet to discern the actual mechanisms behind observed global patterns. Here, by integrating the predictions from multiple theories into a single model and using data from 1,126 grassland plots(More)
Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light,(More)