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Linking stoichiometric homoeostasis with ecosystem structure, functioning and stability

Authors

  • Qiang Yu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
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  • Quansheng Chen,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
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  • James J. Elser,

    1. School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
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  • Nianpeng He,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
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  • Honghui Wu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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  • Guangming Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
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  • Jianguo Wu,

    1. School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
    2. Sino-US Center for Conservation, Energy and Sustainability Science (SUCCESS), Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010021, China
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  • Yongfei Bai,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
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  • Xingguo Han

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
      Correspondence: E-mail:xghan@ibcas.ac.cn
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Correspondence: E-mail:xghan@ibcas.ac.cn

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 1390–1399

Abstract

Ecosystem structure, functioning and stability have been a focus of ecological and environmental sciences during the past two decades. The mechanisms underlying their relationship, however, are not well understood. Based on comprehensive studies in Inner Mongolia grassland, here we show that species-level stoichiometric homoeostasis was consistently positively correlated with dominance and stability on both 2-year and 27-year temporal scales and across a 1200-km spatial transect. At the community level, stoichiometric homoeostasis was also positively correlated with ecosystem function and stability in most cases. Thus, homoeostatic species tend to have high and stable biomass; and ecosystems dominated by more homoeostatic species have higher productivity and greater stability. By modulating organism responses to key environmental drivers, stoichiometric homoeostasis appears to be a major mechanism responsible for the structure, functioning and stability of grassland ecosystems.

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