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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: 3/15/2012
Publication Date: 3/23/2012
Publication 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: 8/24/2016
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