Predicting grassland community responses to fertilization: Exploring the role of clonality and other species traits

Principal Investigator(s): 

Kay Gross

I am a plant community ecologist, interested in what controls the number and types of species that occur in grasslands--managed, restored and native-–and the consequences of these controls for a variety of questions in ecology. As a Sabbatical Fellow as NCEAS, I will be focusing on analyzing data from several field experiments, in which we have fertilized grasslands and monitored the changes in species diversity and composition. My work will primarily be dedicated to two projects: 1) analysis of results from ongoing long-term research on the response to nutrient variety in a southwest Michigan grasslands and 2) analysis and synthesis of data from multiple Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site experiments on how traits of plants that exhibit different forms of vegetative growth (also referred to as clonal growth) influence those species’ response to fertilization in grasslands. I also hope to develop at NCEAS a database of traits for North American grassland species that can be used to analyze what conditions promote (or preclude) dominance by clonal species in response to nutrient enrichment from fertilization. Existing European species databases will be a model for developing this database.

More information about this research project.