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dc.contributor.authorSerafini, John
dc.contributor.otherQueen's University (Kingston, Ont.). Theses (Queen's University (Kingston, Ont.))en
dc.date.accessioned2017-11-01T20:58:29Z
dc.date.available2017-11-01T20:58:29Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/23628
dc.description.abstractWater availability is obviously a primary regulator of plant productivity and species interactions in arid ecosystems, where many previous studies have documented these effects by manipulating soil moisture availability. The impact of altered precipitation patterns — predicted as a consequence of climate change — however, is less clear for more temperate-mesic habitats. How much does variation in soil moisture availability matter here relative to other key environmental factors? To address this, we used a long-term field experiment to explore how the interaction of below-ground water and nutrient availability and above-ground herbivory, interact as regulators of neighbourhood biomass production and species composition in an old-field meadow in Eastern Ontario. After five years of soil water and nutrient level manipulation, with and without herbivore exclosures, we recorded above-ground dry biomass for each resident species within replicate plots. Analysis of treatment effects showed that community above-ground biomass increased with the addition of soil nutrients, decreased under reduced water levels, and was unaffected by increasing water levels or the presence of herbivore exclosures. By Contrast, species richness was altered by all applied treatments with the soil water level manipulations having the greatest effects. The soil nutrient manipulation induced changes in diversity consistent with the traditional ‘humped-back’ model, which predicts a unimodal relationship between productivity and diversity, but the soil moisture manipulation did not. Body size metrics (i.e. maximum potential body size or minimum reproductive threshold size) did not predict species biomass representation under any of the experimental manipulations. However, the biomass of the three most dominant plant species — each of agricultural and ecological significance — was altered by the soil resource manipulations. These results suggest that future precipitation regime changes are likely to negatively impact eastern Ontario’s native grassland plant species and its economically valuable hay and pasture lands. Furthermore, they challenge conventional theory regarding plant body size and competition and the relationship between productivity and diversity along gradients of soil moisture availability versus soil nutrient availability.en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCanadian thesesen
dc.rightsQueen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canadaen
dc.rightsProQuest PhD and Master's Theses International Dissemination Agreementen
dc.rightsIntellectual Property Guidelines at Queen's Universityen
dc.rightsCopying and Preserving Your Thesisen
dc.rightsThis publication is made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws without written authority from the copyright owner.en
dc.subjectClimate Changeen_US
dc.subjectHerbivoryen_US
dc.subjectPlant Sizeen_US
dc.subjectPrecipitationen_US
dc.subjectProductivityen_US
dc.subjectSoil Moistureen_US
dc.subjectSoil Nutrientsen_US
dc.subjectSpecies Compositionen_US
dc.subjectSpecies Diversityen_US
dc.subjectTemperate-Mesic Vegetationen_US
dc.titleEffects of soil resource and herbivory manipulation on temperate-mesic grassland vegetation under a changing climateen_US
dc.typeThesisen
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen_US
dc.contributor.supervisorAarssen, Lonnie
dc.contributor.departmentBiologyen_US


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