No Evidence of Complementary Water Use along a Plant Species Richness Gradient in Temperate Experimental Grasslands

Bachmann, Dörte; Gockele, Annette; Ravenek, Janneke M.; Roscher, Christiane; Strecker, Tanja; Weigelt, Alexandra; Buchmann, Nina
January 2015
PLoS ONE;Jan2015, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O) and 28 cm depth (with ²H) three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species) and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs). Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in ²H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species.


Related Articles

  • Seasonal variations in photosynthesis, intrinsic water-use efficiency and stable isotope composition of poplar leaves in a short-rotation plantation. Broeckx, L.S.; Fichot, R.; Verlinden, M.S.; Ceulemans, R. // Tree Physiology;Jul2014, Vol. 34 Issue 7, p701 

    Photosynthetic carbon assimilation and transpirational water loss play an important role in the yield and the carbon sequestration potential of bioenergy-devoted cultures of fast-growing trees. For six poplar (Populus) genotypes in a short-rotation plantation, we observed significant seasonal...

  • Water use strategy of Ficus tinctoria in tropical rainforest region of Xishuangbanna, South-western China. Ping-yuan, Wang; Liu Wen-jie; Li Jin-tao // Yingyong Shengtai Xuebao;Apr2010, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p836 

    Based on the measurement of the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen in soil, fog, rain, and plant non-photosynthetic tissues, as well as the gravimetric soil water content, soil water potential, and leaf water potential, this paper studied the water use strategy of F. tinctoria at its...

  • Seasonal water use strategy of Cyclobalanopsis glauca in a karst area of southern China. Gu, Daxing; Zhang, Zhongfeng; Mallik, Azim; Zhou, Aiping; Mo, Ling; He, Chengxin; Huang, Yuqing // Environmental Earth Sciences;Jul2015, Vol. 74 Issue 2, p1007 

    Subtropical evergreen and deciduous broadleaved mixed forests occur on shallow soils or even barren areas with carbonate bedrock in karst areas of southern China. The nature of seasonal water sources is poorly understood in the complex environment of these deeply rooted forests; these forests...

  • Complex Response of White Pines to Past Environmental Variability Increases Understanding of Future Vulnerability. Iglesias, Virginia; Krause, Teresa R.; Whitlock, Cathy // PLoS ONE;Apr2015, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p1 

    Ecological niche models predict plant responses to climate change by circumscribing species distributions within a multivariate environmental framework. Most projections based on modern bioclimatic correlations imply that high-elevation species are likely to be extirpated from their current...

  • Linking water uptake with rooting patterns in grassland species. Nippert, Jesse B.; Knapp, Alan K. // Oecologia;Jul2007, Vol. 153 Issue 2, p261 

    Water availability strongly governs grassland primary productivity, yet this resource varies dramatically in time (seasonally) and space (with soil depth and topography). It has long been assumed that co-occurring species differ in their partitioning of water use by depth, but direct evidence is...

  • Ecohydrological controls on plant diversity in tropical South America. Bonetti, Sara; Feng, Xue; Porporato, Amilcare // Ecohydrology;Sep2017, Vol. 10 Issue 6, pn/a 

    Plant species distribution is dominated by abundance and fluctuations of the available resources. Although diversity patterns along rainfall, latitudinal, and altitudinal gradients have been thoroughly examined, the role of hydrological processes in sustaining the resource availability critical...

  • Estimating Niche Width Using Stable Isotopes in the Face of Habitat Variability: A Modelling Case Study in the Marine Environment. Cummings, David O.; Buhl, Jerome; Lee, Raymond W.; Simpson, Stephen J.; Holmes, Sebastian P.; Thrush, Simon // PLoS ONE;Aug2012, Vol. 7 Issue 8, Special section p1 

    Distributions of stable isotopes have been used to infer an organism's trophic niche width, the 'isotopic niche', and examine resource partitioning. Spatial variation in the isotopic composition of prey may however confound the interpretation of isotopic signatures especially when foragers...

  • Long-term and high frequency non-destructive monitoring of water stable isotope profiles in an evaporating soil column. Rothfuss, Y.; Merz, S.; Vanderborght, J.; Hermes, N.; Weuthen, A.; Pohlmeier, A.; Vereecken, H.; Brüggemann, N. // Hydrology & Earth System Sciences Discussions;2015, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p3893 

    The stable isotope compositions of soil water (δ²H and δ18O) carry important information about the prevailing soil hydrological conditions and for constraining ecosystem water budgets. However, they are highly dynamic, especially during and after precipitation events. The classical...

  • Isotopic constraints on the origin of groundwater in the Ordos Basin of northern China. Chen, Jiansheng; Liu, Xiaoyan; Wang, Chiyuen; Rao, Wenbo; Tan, Hongbing; Dong, Haizhou; Sun, Xiaoxu; Wang, Yongsen; Su, Zhiguo // Environmental Earth Sciences;May2012, Vol. 66 Issue 2, p505 

    Despite its extreme aridity, the Ordos Basin in northern China is rich in groundwater. Many artesian wells or springs with large fluxes are utilized for drinking, irrigation and industrial production. In a search for the origin of the groundwater, a detailed investigation of the stable isotopes...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics