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Climate change can negatively affect ecosystem functioning and services that natural ecosystems provide. Higher biodiversity may help to buffer against such changes by providing a higher resistance to environmental perturbation. The global loss of biodiversity is compounding the effects of climate change, creating ecosystems that provide fewer services and are less resistant to environmental change. This senior project tested how biodiversity affected biomass production of two prairie grasses (Panicum virgatum & Dactylis glomerata). Additionally, the effect of symbiotic fungal mycorrhizae diversity and its capacity to relax drought stress in these grasses was examined. I found that increases in community diversity did not necessarily increase plot biomass and that the identity of individual species was the main driver of biomass production. Understanding this relationship is of critical importance, as loss of biodiversity in one organismal guild can have cascading effects, resulting in less stable and less productive environments.
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English, John Patrick, "The Effects of Global Change Factors on American Grasslands" (2015). Senior Projects Fall 2015. 11.