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Productivity Is a Poor Predictor of Plant Species Richness
  • Peter B. Adler, Utah State University
  • Eric W. Seabloom, University of Minnesota
  • Elizabeth T. Borer, University of Minnesota
  • Helmut Hillebrand, University of Oldenburg
  • Yann Hautler, University of Zurich
  • Andy Hector, University of Zurich
  • W. Stanley Harpole, Iowa State University
  • Lydia R. O'Halloran, Oregon State University
  • James B. Grace, United States Geological Survey
  • T. Michael Anderson, Wake Forest University
  • Jonathan D. Bakker, University of Washington
  • Lori A. Biederman, Iowa State University
  • Cynthia S. Brown, Colorado State University
  • Yvonne M. Buckley, University of Queensland
  • Laura B. Calabrese, University of New Mexico
  • Cheng-Jin Chu, Lanzhou University
  • Elsa E. Cleland, University of California, San Diego
  • Scott L. Collins, University of Queensland
  • Kathryn L. Cottingham, Dartmouth College
  • Michael J. Crawley, Imperial College London
  • Ellen I. Damschen, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Kendi F. Davies, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Nicole M. DeCrappeo, United States Geological Survey
  • Philip A. Fay, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Jennifer Firn, Queensland University of Technology
  • Paul N. Frater, Iowa State University
  • Eve I. Gasarch, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Daniel S. Gruner, University of Maryland
  • Nicole Hagenah, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Janneke HilleRisLambers, University of Washington
  • Hope Humphries, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Virginia L. Jin, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Adam Kay, University of St. Thomas
  • Kevin P. Kirkman, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Julia A. Klein, Colorado State University
  • Johannes M. H. Knops, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Kimberly J. La Pierre, Yale University
  • John G. Lambrinos, Oregon State University
  • Wei Li, Iowa State University
  • Andrew S. MacDougall, University of Guelph
  • Rebecca L. McCulley, University of Kentucky
  • Brett A. Melbourne, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Charles E. Mitchell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Joslin L. Moore, University of Melbourne
  • John W. Morgan, La Trobe University
  • Brent D. Mortensen, Iowa State University
  • John L. Orrock, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Suzanne M. Prober, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
  • David A. Pyke, United States Geological Survey
  • Anita C. Risch, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
  • Martin Schuetz, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
  • Melinda D. Smith, Yale University
  • Carly J. Stevens, The Open University
  • Lauren K. Sullivan, Iowa State University
  • Gang Wang, Lanzhou University
  • Peter D. Wragg, University of Minnesota
  • Justin P. Wright, Duke University
  • Louie H. Yang, University of California, Davis
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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. Although recent meta-analyses questioned the generality of hump-shaped patterns, these syntheses have been criticized for failing to account for methodological differences among studies. We addressed such concerns by conducting standardized sampling in 48 herbaceous-dominated plant communities on five continents. We found no clear relationship between productivity and fine-scale (meters−2) richness within sites, within regions, or across the globe. Ecologists should focus on fresh, mechanistic approaches to understanding the multivariate links between productivity and richness.

This article is from Science 333, no. 6050 (2011): 1750–1753, doi:10.1126/science.1204498.

Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
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Peter B. Adler, Eric W. Seabloom, Elizabeth T. Borer, Helmut Hillebrand, et al.. "Productivity Is a Poor Predictor of Plant Species Richness" Science Vol. 333 Iss. 6050 (2011) p. 1750 - 1753
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