loading page

Soil legacies mediated by plant community traits steer grassland vegetation
  • +6
  • Robin Heinen,
  • Emilia Hannula,
  • Jonathan De Long,
  • Martine Huberty,
  • Renske Jongen,
  • Anna Kielak,
  • Katja Steinauer,
  • Feng Zhu,
  • T. Bezemer
Robin Heinen
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Emilia Hannula
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Jonathan De Long
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Martine Huberty
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Renske Jongen
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Anna Kielak
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Katja Steinauer
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
Feng Zhu
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile
T. Bezemer
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Author Profile

Abstract

Plant-soil feedback is commonly pointed out as driver of plant community dynamics and species co-existence. However, experimental evidence for soil legacy effects of conditioning plant communities on responding plant communities under natural conditions is lacking. We conditioned 192 grassland plots with plant communities with different ratios of grasses and forbs and fast and slow-growing plants. Soil microbial legacies were most evident for soil fungi. Soil abiotic parameters did not change in response to conditioning. The soil legacies affected the composition of the succeeding vegetation. Plant communities of a specific functional type caused negative feedbacks on succeeding plants when they belonged to the same functional type. Richness, relative species cover and belowground biomass of the responding vegetation were all influenced by the growth rate of the conditioning community. We conclude that plant-soil feedbacks play an important role in vegetation assembly of natural communities.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

10 Dec 2019Submitted to Ecology Letters
10 Dec 2019Submission Checks Completed
10 Dec 2019Assigned to Editor
11 Dec 2019Reviewer(s) Assigned
09 Jan 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Jan 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
03 Feb 20201st Revision Received
04 Feb 2020Submission Checks Completed
04 Feb 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Feb 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Feb 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Feb 2020Editorial Decision: Accept