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Determinants of community compositional change are equally affected by global change


Avolio, ML and Komatsu, KJ and Collins, SL and Grman, E and Koerner, SE and Tredennick, AT and Wilcox, KR and Baer, S and Boughton, EH and Britton, AJ and Foster, B and Gough, L and Hovenden, M and Isbell, F and Jentsch, A and Johnson, DS and Knapp, AK and Kreyling, J and Langley, JA and Lortie, C and McCulley, RL and McLaren, JR and Reich, PB and Seabloom, EW and Smith, MD and Suding, KN and Suttle, KB and Tognetti, PM, Determinants of community compositional change are equally affected by global change, Ecology Letters, 24, (9) pp. 1892-1904. ISSN 1461-023X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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The Author(s) 2021. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License ( This license allows re-users to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.

DOI: doi:10.1111/ele.13824


Global change is impacting plant community composition, but the mechanisms underlying these changes are unclear. Using a dataset of 58 global change experiments, we tested the five fundamental mechanisms of community change: changes in evenness and richness, reordering, species gains and losses. We found 71% of communities were impacted by global change treatments, and 88% of communities that were exposed to two or more global change drivers were impacted. Further, all mechanisms of change were equally likely to be affected by global change treatments species losses and changes in richness were just as common as species gains and reordering. We also found no evidence of a progression of community changes, for example, reordering and changes in evenness did not precede species gains and losses. We demonstrate that all processes underlying plant community composition changes are equally affected by treatments and often occur simultaneously, necessitating a wholistic approach to quantifying community changes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:data synthesis; evenness; global change experiments; herbaceous plants; reordering; richness; species gains; species losses
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecological applications not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Hovenden, M (Professor Mark Hovenden)
ID Code:152750
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Engineering
Deposited On:2022-08-24
Last Modified:2022-11-21

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