Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness

Lauchlan H. Fraser, Jason Pither, Anke Jentsch, Marcelo Sternberg, Martin Zobel, Diana Askarizadeh, Sandor Bartha, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Jonathan A. Bennett, Alex Bittel, Bazartseren Boldgiv, Ilsi I. Boldrini, Edward Bork, Leslie Brown, Marcelo Cabido, James Cahill, Cameron N. Carlyle, Giandiego Campetella, Stefano Chelli, Ofer CohenAnna Maria Csergo, Sandra Díaz, Lucas Enrico, David Ensing, Alessandra Fidelis, Jason D. Fridley, Bryan Foster, Heath Garris, Jacob R. Goheen, Hugh A.L. Henry, Maria Hohn, Mohammad Hassan Jouri, John Klironomos, Kadri Koorem, Rachael Lawrence-Lodge, Ruijun Long, Pete Manning, Randall Mitchell, Mari Moora, Sandra C. Müller, Carlos Nabinger, Kamal Naseri, Gerhard E. Overbeck, Todd M. Palmer, Sheena Parsons, Mari Pesek, Valério D. Pillar, Robert M. Pringle, Kathy Roccaforte, Amanda Schmidt, Zhanhuan Shang, Reinhold Stahlmann, Gisela C. Stotz, Shu Ichi Sugiyama, Szilárd Szentes, Don Thompson, Radnaakhand Tungalag, Sainbileg Undrakhbold, Margaretha Van Rooyen, Camilla Wellstein, J. Bastow Wilson, Talita Zupo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

321 Scopus citations


The search for predictions of species diversity across environmental gradients has challenged ecologists for decades. The humped-back model (HBM) suggests that plant diversity peaks at intermediate productivity; at low productivity few species can tolerate the environmental stresses, and at high productivity a few highly competitive species dominate. Over time the HBM has become increasingly controversial, and recent studies claim to have refuted it. Here, by using data from coordinated surveys conducted throughout grasslands worldwide and comprising a wide range of site productivities, we provide evidence in support of the HBM pattern at both global and regional extents. The relationships described here provide a foundation for further research into the local, landscape, and historical factors that maintain biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-305
Number of pages4
Issue number6245
StatePublished - Jul 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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