Dominant species are often considered to be highly important in ecosystem stability due to their large biomass production. However, there is lack of understanding on the role of subordinate species in ecosystem functioning, particularly in the context of ecological perturbations such as climate change. Within a mixed meadow-grassland community , this project aims to assess the regeneration of dominant species following a disturbance event, in the presence or absence of subordinate species, under varying levels of rainfall. To achieve this, rain-out shelters will be manipulated to control for rainfall availability (e.g. drought, flood). Plant removal treatments will be applied under each shelter to control for different subdominant-dominant plant interactions. This experiment will reveal whether the role of subordinate species in ecosystem functioning is similar under different environmental conditions.
Principal Investigator: Marc Cadotte