Productivity and species richness in an arid ecosystem

A long-term perspective

Stephen B. Cox, Christopher P. Bloch, Richard D. Stevens, Laura F Huenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is little consensus on the form of the relationship between biodiversity and productivity, and most of the research examining it has been done in temperate grasslands, with arid ecosystems receiving comparatively little attention. Using 9 years of data collected using standardized sampling methods from five different community types in the Chihuahuan Desert (Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site, New Mexico, USA), we evaluate the relationship between productivity and species richness at multiple spatial scales. The relationship was consistently unimodal at the largest scale considered; however, community types differed in both the form of the relationship and the degree to which patterns fluctuated over time. Although significant linear and unimodal patterns were evident, these models fit poorly, suggesting that annual primary productivity is a weak predictor of mean species richness in arid communities. We suggest that productivity-diversity relationships are best described by a boundary that places an upper limit on species coexistence across the gradient of productivity for a site. This upper limit often appears to be maximized at intermediate levels of productivity, but it has relatively few points on the downward portion of the boundary. By focusing efforts on characterizing boundaries, approaches should be developed to determine the factors that are reducing species richness compared to what would be expected, given the level of productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume186
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

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species richness
species diversity
productivity
ecosystems
ecosystem
Chihuahuan Desert
primary productivity
grasslands
basins
biodiversity
coexistence
desert
grassland
sampling
methodology
basin

Keywords

  • Arid ecosystem
  • Productivity
  • Quantile regression
  • Species richness
  • Unimodal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

Productivity and species richness in an arid ecosystem : A long-term perspective. / Cox, Stephen B.; Bloch, Christopher P.; Stevens, Richard D.; Huenneke, Laura F.

In: Plant Ecology, Vol. 186, No. 1, 09.2006, p. 1-12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cox, Stephen B. ; Bloch, Christopher P. ; Stevens, Richard D. ; Huenneke, Laura F. / Productivity and species richness in an arid ecosystem : A long-term perspective. In: Plant Ecology. 2006 ; Vol. 186, No. 1. pp. 1-12.
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