Waiting for main navigation ...

Invader presence disrupts the stabilizing effect of species richness in plant community recovery after drought (2020.0)

Vetter V., Kreyling J., Dengler J., Apostolova I., Arfin‐Khan M., Berauer B., Berwaers S., De Boeck H., Nijs I., Schuchardt M., Sopotlieva D., Gillhausen P., Wilfahrt P., Zimmermann M., Jentsch A.

Global Change Biology, 26 (6), 3539-3551



Higher biodiversity can stabilize the productivity and functioning of grassland communities when subjected to extreme climatic events. The positive biodiversity–stability relationship emerges via increased resistance and/or recovery to these events. However, invader presence might disrupt this diversity–stability relationship by altering biotic interactions. Investigating such disruptions is important given that invasion by non-native species and extreme climatic events are expected to increase in the future due to anthropogenic pressure. Here we present one of the first multisite invader × biodiversity × drought manipulation experiment to examine combined effects of biodiversity and invasion on drought resistance and recovery at three semi-natural grassland sites across Europe. The stability of biomass production to an extreme drought manipulation (100% rainfall reduction; BE: 88 days, BG: 85 days, DE: 76 days) was quantified in field mesocosms with a richness gradient of 1, 3, and 6 species and three invasion treatments (no invader, Lupinus polyphyllusSenecio inaequidens). Our results suggest that biodiversity stabilized community productivity by increasing the ability of native species to recover from extreme drought events. However, invader presence turned the positive and stabilizing effects of diversity on native species recovery into a neutral relationship. This effect was independent of the two invader's own capacity to recover from an extreme drought event. In summary, we found that invader presence may disrupt how native community interactions lead to stability of ecosystems in response to extreme climatic events. Consequently, the interaction of three global change drivers, climate extremes, diversity decline, and invasive species, may exacerbate their effects on ecosystem functioning.