Changement climatique - Recherche française (avec laboratoires CNRS) - 2010-2015


Detecting the footprint of changing atmospheric nitrogen deposition loads on acid grasslands in the context of climate change

Publication Year


  • Gaudnik, Cassandre
  • Corcket, Emmanuel
  • Clement, Bernard
  • Delmas, Chloe E. L.
  • Gombert-Courvoisier, Sandrine
  • Muller, Serge
  • Stevens, Carly J.
  • Alard, Didier
GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY Volume: 17 Issue: 11 Pages: 3351-3365 Published: 2011

Although atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition and climate changes are both recognized as major components of global change, their interaction at ecosystem level is less well understood. A stratified resampling approach was used to investigate the potential impact of changing levels of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate change on species composition of nutrient-poor acid grasslands within the French Atlantic Domain (FAD). The study was based on a comparison, over a period of 25 years, of 162 past and present vegetation records assigned to the species-rich Nardus grasslands and distributed in regional community types (CTs). Similarly, the characterization of N deposition and climate was stratified according to (i) past (1980-1990) and present (1995-2005) periods, and (ii) FAD and CT scales. Despite the relatively short time span between sampling periods, significant N deposition and climate changes were detected as well as vegetation changes. Correspondence analysis showed that the relative importance of N deposition and climate in explaining vegetation changes depended on the spatial scale of investigation (FAD vs. local CTs) and the CT. At the FAD scale, the increase of annual mean temperature and decrease of water availability were clearly related to the changes in floristic composition. At the local scale, the most stable CT experienced no significant climate change and a stable load of N deposition, whereas the CTs characterized by the largest floristic changes were associated with dramatic climate changes and moderate loads in both oxidized and reduced N deposition. Despite the narrow gradient of deposition investigated, N deposition was related to significant grassland community changes, depending on the region, i. e. climate context, and on whether N deposition was in the oxidized or reduced form. Our results suggest that N deposition drives grassland composition at the local scale, in interaction with climate, whereas climate changes remain the predominant driver at the FAD scale.

Author Keyword(s)
  • climate change
  • French Atlantic Domain
  • oxidized and reduced nitrogen deposition
  • resampling
  • species composition
  • species-rich Nardus grasslands
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • SOIL
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences

[Gaudnik, Cassandre; Corcket, Emmanuel; Alard, Didier] Univ Bordeaux, BIOGECO UMR1202, F-33405 Talence, France; [Gaudnik, Cassandre; Corcket, Emmanuel; Alard, Didier] INRA, BIOGECO UMR1202, F-33400 Talence, France; [Clement, Bernard] Univ Rennes 1, ECOBIO, CNRS, UMR 6553, F-35042 Rennes, France; [Delmas, Chloe E. L.] Univ Toulouse 3, CNRS, UMR Evolut & Diversite Biol 5174, F-31062 Toulouse, France; [Gombert-Courvoisier, Sandrine] Univ Bordeaux, ADES, UMR5185, F-33607 Pessac, France; [Muller, Serge] Univ Paul Verlaine, CNRS, UMR LIEBE 7146, F-57070 Metz, France; [Stevens, Carly J.] Open Univ, Dept Life Sci, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, Bucks, England; [Stevens, Carly J.] Univ Lancaster, Lancaster Environm Ctr, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, England

Reprint Adress

Alard, D (reprint author), Univ Bordeaux, BIOGECO UMR1202, Bat B8 RdC,Ave Fac, F-33405 Talence, France.

  • France
  • United Kingdom
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Aménagement, Développement, Environnement,Santé et Sociétés (ADESS), UMR5185
  • Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution (ECOBIO), UMR6553
  • Evolution et diversité biologique (EDB), UMR5174
  • Laboratoire des Interactions Ecotoxicologie, Biodiversité, Ecosystèmes (LIEBE), UMR7146
Accession Number
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