, Volume 175, Issue 2, pp 687–697

Biodiversity, photosynthetic mode, and ecosystem services differ between native and novel ecosystems

Global change ecology - Original research

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-014-2911-0

Cite this article as:
Martin, L.M., Polley, H.W., Daneshgar, P.P. et al. Oecologia (2014) 175: 687. doi:10.1007/s00442-014-2911-0


Human activities have caused non-native plant species with novel ecological interactions to persist on landscapes, and it remains controversial whether these species alter multiple aspects of communities and ecosystems. We tested whether native and exotic grasslands differ in species diversity, ecosystem services, and an important aspect of functional diversity (C3:C4 proportions) by sampling 42 sites along a latitudinal gradient and conducting a controlled experiment. Exotic-dominated grasslands had drastically lower plant diversity and slightly higher tissue N concentrations and forage quality compared to native-dominated sites. Exotic sites were strongly dominated by C4 species at southern and C3 species at northern latitudes with a sharp transition at 36–38°, whereas native sites contained C3:C4 mixtures. Large differences in C3:C4 proportions and temporal niche partitioning were found between native and exotic mixtures in the experiment, implying that differences in C3:C4 proportions along the latitudinal gradient are caused partially by species themselves. Our results indicate that the replacement of native- by exotic-dominated grasslands has created a management tradeoff (high diversity versus high levels of certain ecosystem services) and that models of global change impacts and C3/C4 distribution should consider effects of exotic species.


Exotic species Invasive species C3 photosynthesis C4 photosynthesis C4:C3 proportions 

Supplementary material

442_2014_2911_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 33 kb)
442_2014_2911_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (71 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 71 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leanne M. Martin
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Wayne Polley
    • 3
  • Pedram P. Daneshgar
    • 4
  • Mary A. Harris
    • 5
    • 6
  • Brian J. Wilsey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal BiologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Kansas Biological SurveyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARS, Grassland, Soil and Water Research LaboratoryTempleUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyMonmouth UniversityWest Long BranchUSA
  5. 5.Department of EntomologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  6. 6.Department of Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementIowa State UniversityAmesUSA