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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Response to comments on "Productivity is a poor predictor of plant species richness"

item Grace, James -
item Adler, Peter -
item Seabloom, Eric -
item Borer, Elizabeth -
item Hillebrand, Helmut -
item Hautier, Yann -
item Hector, Andy -
item Harpole, W. -
item O'Halloran, Lydia -
item Anderson, T. -
item Bakker, Jonathan -
item Brown, Cynthia -
item Buckley, Yvonne -
item Collins, Scott -
item Cottingham, Kathryn -
item Crawley, Michael -
item Damschen, Ellen -
item Davies, Kendi -
item Decrappeo, Nicole -
item Fay, Philip
item Firn, Jennifer -
item Gruner, Daniel -
item Hagenah, Nicole -
item Jin, Virginia
item Kirkman, Kevin -
item Knops, Johannes -
item La Pierre, Kimberly -
item Lambrinos, John -
item Melbourne, Brett -
item Mitchell, Charles -
item Moore, Joslin -
item Morgan, John -
item Orrock, John -
item Prober, Suzanne -
item Stevens, Carly -
item Wragg, Peter -
item Yang, Louie -

Submitted to: Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2012
Publication Date: March 23, 2012
Repository URL:
Citation: Grace, J.B., Adler, P.B., Seabloom, E.W., Borer, E.T., Hillebrand, H., Hautier, Y., Hector, A., Harpole, W.S., O'Halloran, L.R., Anderson, T.M., Bakker, J.D., Brown, C.S., Buckley, Y.M., Collins, S.L., Cottingham, K.L., Crawley, M.J., Damschen, E.I., Davies, K.F., Decrappeo, N.M., Fay, P.A., Firn, J., Gruner, D.S., Hagenah, N., Jin, V.L., Kirkman, K.P., Knops, J.M., La Pierre, K.J., Lambrinos, J.G., Melbourne, B.A., Mitchell, C.E., Moore, J.L., Morgan, J.W., Orrock, J.L., Prober, S.M., Stevens, C.J., Wragg, P.D., Yang, L.H. 2012. Response to comments on "Productivity is a poor predictor of plant species richness". Science. 335:1441-c.

Interpretive Summary: This Technical Comment responds to criticisms leveled at Adler et al. (Science 333:1750, 2011), which found that primary productivity of plant communities was not well predicted by the number of species present in the community. This results stands in contrast to the widely held view that primary productivity is positively correlated with species richness. The criticisms leveled at the Adler paper by two different authors were 1) it actual supports a linear positive relationship between productivity and richness, and 2) the Adler finds support the presence of a peaked relationship between productivity and richness. We rebutted these criticisms through review of original findings and site selection criteria and through additional analysis showing that the data conform to expectations of a random distribution, and not one that would be expected if positive or humped relationships of richness and productivity were present.

Technical Abstract: Pan et al. claim that the results by Adler et al. (Reports, 23 Sept 2011, p. 1750) actually support a strong linear positive relationship between productivity and richness, while Fridley et al. contend that the data support a strong humped relationship. These responses illustrate how the preoccupation with bivariate patterns distracts from a deeper understanding of the multivariate mechanisms that control these important ecosystem properties.

Last Modified: 12/1/2015
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