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Appendix S1. Overall view (upper photo) of the location of the two 137 cm3 plastic cylinders during the preparation of the soil nutrient patch in a heterogeneous microcosm (a). In the homogeneous treatments, the two plastic cylinders filled with the mixture of background soil + organic matter were homogeneously distributed along the entire pot volume (b). In the heterogeneous treatments, a plastic cylinder was filled with organic material, and the other (control) was filled only with background soil (c). Cylinders were located 10 cm below the surface in all cases. Photo credits: P. García-Palacios.

Appendix S2. Climatic data (mean monthly temperature, black circles; and monthly rainfall, grey bars) obtained from a meteorological station (Onset, Pocasset, MA, USA) located in the facilities of the Rey Juan Carlos University (Móstoles, Spain).

Appendix S3. Summary of three-way anova for main treatment effects and interactions on above- (ANPP) and below-ground (BNPP) net primary productivity, the activity of the β-glucosidase and acid phosphatase enzymes, the percentage of N added as organic material captured by assemblages (NCA), root foraging precision (RII) and the NO3 and NH4+ availability rates. P values below 0.05 are shown in boldface.

Appendix S4.Post hoc analyses of the significant nutrient availability × plant functional group (PFG) interaction found when analyzing below-ground net primary productivity (BNPP) data in June 2009. Soil nutrient heterogeneity levels were collapsed to highlight the two-way significant interaction. 50 and 100 mg N represent the two levels of nutrient availability provided. NLF = non-legume forbs, and 3-PFG = three plant functional group mixture. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among PFGs (P < 0.05, Tukey’s HSD test after a two-way anova). Values are means ± 1 SE (n = 18).

Appendix S5. Summary of three-way ancova for main treatment effects and interactions on the activity of the β-glucosidase and acid phosphatase enzymes. Above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) in 2009 was introduced in all the analyses as a covariate. P values below 0.05 are shown in boldface.

Appendix S6.Post-hoc analyses of the significant nutrient heterogeneity × nutrient availability × plant functional group (PFG) interaction found when analyzing the percentage of N added with organic material captured by assemblages (NCA) in May 2009. 50 and 100 mg N represent the two levels of nutrient availability provided. NLF = non-legume forbs, and 3-PFG = three plant functional group mixture. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among PFGs (P < 0.05, Tukey’s HSD test after a three-way anova). Values are means ± 1 SE (n = 9).

Appendix S7. Relationships between root foraging precision and above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) of the four plant functional groups in June 2009. Separate regression analyses were conducted for data from the homogeneous and heterogeneous treatments. Regression lines are not included because the relationships were not significant in any case. a) Grasses; (b) Legumes; (c) Non-legume forbs; (d) Three-plant functional group mixture.

Appendix S8. Relationships between above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP), below-ground net primary productivity (BNPP) and the activity of the enzymes β-glucosidase (a, d), acid phosphatase (b, e) and NO3 availability rate (c, f) in June 2009. Separate regression analyses were conducted for data from the homogeneous and heterogeneous treatments; only significant regressions (P < 0.05) are shown.

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