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Functional divergence and plant-plant interactions stabilize community response to global change
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  • Yuxuan Bai,
  • Richard Michalet,
  • Weiwei She,
  • Yangui Qiao,
  • Liang Liu,
  • Chun Miao,
  • Shugao Qin,
  • Yuqing Zhang
Yuxuan Bai
Beijing Forestry University
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Richard Michalet
University of Bordeaux
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Weiwei She
Beijing Forestry University
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Yangui Qiao
Beijing Forestry University
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Liang Liu
Beijing Forestry University
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Chun Miao
Beijing Forestry University
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Shugao Qin
Beijing Forestry University
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Yuqing Zhang
Beijing Forestry University
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Abstract

Most inclusions of biotic interactions in predictive models of species and community responses to global change have focused on interactions measured at the community-level. However, these approaches ignore that communities include functionally dissimilar species that might respond differently to changes in effects of dominant neighbours along environmental treatments. Manipulating neighbours, water, and nitrogen in a dune community from the semi-arid continental climate of northern China, we found that species had contrasting variations in competitive or facilitative responses to the shrub effects depending on functional traits and environmental treatments. Interactions measured at the species-group level balanced at the community level with no significant changes in facilitation or competition along treatments. Our results highlight that communities including species from different functional strategies exhibit contrasting changes in responses to a dominant neighbour along environmental treatments that balance at community-level. This suggests that functional divergence and plant interactions stabilize community response to global change.