Eric W. Seabloom, University of Minnesota
Elizabeth T. Borer, University of Minnesota
Yvonne M. Buckley, University of Queensland, Australia
Elsa E. Cleland, University of California - San Diego
Kendi F. Davies, University of Colorado - Boulder
Jennifer Firn, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
W. Stanley Harpole, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany
Yann Hautier, University of Minnesota
Eric M. Lind, University of Minnesota
Andrew S. MacDougall, University of Guelph, Canada
John L. Orrock, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Suzanne M. Prober, CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Australia
Peter B. Adler, Utah State University
T. Michael Anderson, Wake Forest University
Jonathan D. Bakker, University of Washington
Lori A. Biederman, Iowa State University
Dana M. Blumenthal, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Cynthia S. Brown, Colorado State University
Lars A. Brudvig, Michigan State University
Marc Cadotte, University of Toronto - Scarborough
Chengjin Chu, Lanzhou University, China
Kathryn L. Cottingham, Dartmouth College
Michael J. Crawley, Imperial College London, UK
Ellen I. Damschen, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Carla M. Dantonio, University of California - Santa Barbara
Nicole M. DeCrappeo, U.S. Geological Survey Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Guozhen Du, Lanzhou University, China
Philip A. Fay, USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Lab
Paul Frater, Iowa State University
Daniel S. Gruner, University of Maryland
Nicole Hagenah, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Andy Hector, University of Oxford, UK
Helmut Hillebrand, Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Germany
Kirsten S. Hofmockel, Iowa State University
Hope C. Humphries, University of Colorado - Boulder
Virginia L. Jin, USDA-ARS Agroecosystem Management Research Unit
Adam Kay, University of St. Thomas
Kevin P. Kirkman, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Julia A. Klein, Colorado State University
Johannes M. H. Knops, University of Nebraska
Kimberly J. La Pierre, University of California - Berkeley
Laura Ladwig, University of New Mexico
John G. Lambrinos, Oregon State University
Qi Li, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Wei Li, Iowa State University
Robin Marushia, University of Toronto, Canada
Rebecca L. McCulley, University of KentuckyFollow
Brett A. Melbourne, University of Colorado - Boulder
Charles E. Mitchell, University of North Carolina
Joslin L. Moore, University of Melbourne, Australia
John Morgan, La Trobe University, Canada
Brent Mortensen, Iowa State University
Lydia R. O'Halloran, Oregon State University
David A. Pyke, U.S. Geological Survey Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Anita C. Risch, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Switzerland
Mahesh Sankaran, National Centre for Biological Sciences, India
Martin Schuetz, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Switzerland
Anna Simonsen, University of Toronto - St. George
Melinda D. Smith, Colorado State University
Carly J. Stevens, Lancaster University, UK
Lauren Sullivan, Iowa State University
Elizabeth Wolkovich, University of British Columbia, Canada
Peter D. Wragg, University of Minnesota
Justin Wright, Duke University
Louie Yang, University of California - Davis


Exotic species dominate many communities; however the functional significance of species' biogeographic origin remains highly contentious. This debate is fuelled in part by the lack of globally replicated, systematic data assessing the relationship between species provenance, function and response to perturbations. We examined the abundance of native and exotic plant species at 64 grasslands in 13 countries, and at a subset of the sites we experimentally tested native and exotic species responses to two fundamental drivers of invasion, mineral nutrient supplies and vertebrate herbivory. Exotic species are six times more likely to dominate communities than native species. Furthermore, while experimental nutrient addition increases the cover and richness of exotic species, nutrients decrease native diversity and cover. Native and exotic species also differ in their response to vertebrate consumer exclusion. These results suggest that species origin has functional significance, and that eutrophication will lead to increased exotic dominance in grasslands.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Nature Communications, v. 6, article 7710, p. 1-8.

© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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Funding Information

This work was generated using data from the Nutrient Network ( experiment, funded at the site scale by individual researchers. Coordination and data management have been supported by funding to E. Borer and E. Seabloom from the National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network (NSF-DEB-1042132), Long Term Ecological Research (NSF-DEB-1234162 to Cedar Creek LTER) programs and the Institute on the Environment (DG-0001-13).

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Supplementary Figure 1 and Supplementary Tables 1-7