Johannes H C Cornelissen

Johannes H C Cornelissen
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | VU · A-LIFE, Systems Ecology

PhD

About

433
Publications
344,232
Reads
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54,690
Citations
Introduction
How do different plant species, with their different functional traits, control carbon and nutrient cycling processes (e.g. decomposition, fire, productivity); and how does this help us to understand the consequences of global changes through shifts in vegetation composition?
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - April 2017
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor
January 2000 - present
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 1993 - December 1999
The University of Sheffield

Publications

Publications (433)
Article
Coevolution has driven speciation and evolutionary novelty in functional traits across the Tree of Life. Classic coevolutionary syndromes such as plant–pollinator, plant–herbivore, and host–parasite have focused strongly on the fitness consequences during the lifetime of the interacting partners. Less is known about the consequences of coevolved tr...
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The soil nitrogen (N) cycle in cold terrestrial ecosystems is slow and organically bound N is an important source of N for plants in these ecosystems. Many plant species can take up free amino acids from these infertile soils, either directly or indirectly via their mycorrhizal fungi. We hypothesized that plant community changes and local plant com...
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1. Lianas account for a small fraction of forest biomass, but their contribution to leaf or litter biomass and thus to food webs can be substantial. Globally liana exhibit fast life history traits. Thus liana litter may decompose faster than tree litter, and could enhance decomposition of tree litter (complementarity effect). The differences in dec...
Article
A priority research field addresses how to optimize diverse ecosystem services to people, including biodiversity support, regulatory, utilitarian and cultural services. This field may benefit from linking ecosystem services to the sizes of different body parts of organisms, with functional traits as the go-between. Using woody ecosystems to explore...
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Safeguarding Earth’s tree diversity is a conservation priority due to the importance of trees for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services such as carbon sequestration. Here, we improve the foundation for effective conservation of global tree diversity by analyzing a recently developed database of tree species covering 46,752 species. We q...
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Although plant–plant interactions (i.e. competition and facilitation) have long been recognised as key drivers of plant community composition and dynamics, their global patterns and relationships with climate have remained unclear. Here, we assembled a global database of 10,502 pairs of empirical data from the literature to address the patterns of...
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1. Revealing the ecological consequences of bark multifunctionality and its underlying traits has become a relatively new but essential focus in plant ecology. Although the enormous differences between the most crucial bark layers, i.e., inner and outer bark, in structure and functions have been widely recognized, the overall bark has been regarded...
Article
Foliar nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) status and their stoichiometric homeostasis are integral parts of the plant nutrient economy that determines the success of plant species in environments where N or P limits plant growth. Despite growing evidence for higher predictability of stoichiometric homeostasis of N (HN) than that of P (HP) on plant spec...
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A central paradigm in comparative ecology is that species sort out along a slow-fast resource economy spectrum of plant strategies, but this has been rarely tested for a comprehensive set of stem traits and compartments. We tested how stem traits vary across wood and bark of temperate tree species, whether a slow-fast strategy spectrum exists, and...
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1. Understanding nitrogen (N) cycling in different ecosystems is crucial to predicting and mitigating the global effects of altered N inputs. Although wetlands have always been assumed to differ largely from terrestrial ecosystems in N cycling, evidence from direct comparison from the field along wide environmental gradients is lacking. Here, we hy...
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Dead wood quantity and quality is important for forest biodiversity, by determining wood inhabiting fungal assemblages. We therefore evaluated how fungal communities were regulated by stem traits and compartments (i.e., bark, outer‐ and inner wood) of 14 common temperate tree species. Fresh logs were incubated in a common garden experiment in a for...
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Simulations of the land surface carbon cycle typically compress functional diversity into a small set of plant functional types (PFT), with parameters defined by the average value of measurements of functional traits. In most earth system models, all wild plant life is represented by between five and 14 PFTs and a typical grid cell (≈100 × 100 km)...
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Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions, and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation,...
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Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation, p...
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Biodiversity loss, exotic plant invasion and climatic change are three important global changes that can affect litter decomposition. These effects may be interactive and these global changes thus need to be considered simultaneously. Here, we assembled herbaceous plant communities with five species richness levels (1, 2, 4, 8 or 16) and subjected...
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The interactions between plants and soil microbes play crucial roles in modulating the function and stability of terrestrial ecosystems. However, the relationships between plant and soil microbial diversity for different taxa have remained been elusive. Northern China. Plant and soil microbes of grassland ecosystems. 2018 and 2019. We conducted a t...
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Climate extremes may occur throughout the year with large consequences for ecosystem functioning and feedbacks. Early snowmelt and drought often precede arctic fires, which in turn may degrade permafrost and thereby influence ecosystem functioning for many years post-fire. Overwintering “zombie fires” in the Arctic, which smolder from one fire seas...
Preprint
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Animals, such as termites, have largely been overlooked as global-scale drivers of biogeochemical cycles 1,2 , despite site-specific findings 3,4 . Deadwood turnover, an important component of the carbon cycle, is driven by multiple decay agents. Studies have focused on temperate systems 5,6 , where microbes dominate decay ⁷ . Microbial decay is se...
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Plant functional traits can predict community assembly and ecosystem functioning and are thus widely used in global models of vegetation dynamics and land–climate feedbacks. Still, we lack a global understanding of how land and climate affect plant traits. A previous global analysis of six traits observed two main axes of variation: (1) size variat...
Article
More than half of the net primary production in terrestrial ecosystems returns to the soil through leaf litter fall and decomposition. In terrestrial ecosystems, litter constitutes a mixture of mainly senescent foliage from multiple species. Yet, the effect of litter mixing on litter decomposition rate remains ambiguous. Quantification of the soil...
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Soil seed banks represent a critical but hidden stock for potential future plant diversity on Earth. Here we compiled and analyzed a global dataset consisting of 15,698 records of species diversity and density for soil seed banks in natural plant communities worldwide to quantify their environmental determinants and global patterns. Random forest m...
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Dead wood is a source of life as it provides habitat and substrate for a wide range of fungal species. A growing number of studies show an important role of wood quality for fungal diversity, but in most cases for a limited number of wood traits or tree species. In this study, we evaluate how abiotic and biotic factors affect the fungal diversity a...
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In the context of a recent massive increase of research on plant root functions and their impact on the environment, root ecologists currently face many important challenges to keep on generating cutting edge, meaningful and integrated knowledge. Consideration of the belowground components in plant and ecosystem studies has been consistently called...
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Among the most important ecosystem processes in wetlands is plant litter decomposition, which provides the detrital food chains with matter and energy and consequently could affect ecosystem health and integrity. Varying degrees of anthropogenic eutrophication mostly due to urbanization, are prevalent problems in many wetlands and aquatic ecosystem...
Article
Environmental changes, e.g. in rainfall and land use, lead to changes in the environment experienced by subsequent generations of plant species. Environmental conditions of maternal plants can influence the fitness and phenotypes of subsequent generations via non‐genetic mechanisms: transgenerational plasticity (TGP). However, relevant empirical ev...
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The relative contribution of bryophytes to plant diversity, primary productivity, and ecosystem functioning increases towards colder climates. Bryophytes respond to environmental changes at the species level, but because bryophyte species are relatively difficult to identify, they are often lumped into one functional group. Consequently, bryophyte...
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Rainfall interception by vegetation plays an important role in the hydrological cycle. Next to rainfall characteristics, interception is influenced by tree size, crown structure and bark morphology. How tree traits determine interception across functionally and morphologically wide-ranging tree species is poorly understood. We determined intercepti...
Article
The plant economics spectrum integrates trade‐offs and covariation in resource economic traits of different plant organs and their consequences for pivotal ecosystem processes, such as decomposition. However, in this concept stems are often considered as one unit ignoring the important functional differences between wood (xylem) and bark. These dif...
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Natural forests contain a large amount of deadwood, which is a key contributor to biodiversity, especially by providing dynamic habitats and resources for a huge variety of invertebrates. However, for managing forest biodiversity we need to better understand what drives the dynamics of invertebrate communities in deadwood. We hypothesized that the...
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Reassembling ecological communities and rebuilding habitats through active restoration treatments requires curating the selection of plant species to use in seeding and planting mixes. Ideally, these mixes should be assembled based on attributes that support ecosystem function and services, promote plant and animal species interactions and ecologic...
Preprint
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Biodiversity loss, exotic plant invasions and climatic change are currently the three major challenges to our globe and can each affect various ecological processes, including litter composition. To gain a better understanding of global change impacts on ecological processes, these three global change components need to be considered simultaneously...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reassembling ecological communities and rebuilding habitats through active restoration treatments requires curating the selection of plant species to use in seeding and planting mixes. Ideally, these mixes should be assembled based on attributes that support ecosystem function and services, promote plant and animal species interactions and ecologic...
Article
The functional traits of organisms within multispecies assemblages regulate biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. Yet how traits should assemble to boost multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (multifunctionality) remains poorly explored. In a multibiome litter experiment covering most of the global variation in leaf trait spectra, we...
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Life history strategies are fundamental to the ecology and evolution of organisms and are important for understanding extinction risk and responses to global change. Using global datasets and a multiple response modelling framework we show that trait‐climate interactions are associated with life history strategies for a diverse range of plant speci...
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Changes in the composition of plant functional traits may affect ecosystem processes through influencing trophic interactions. Bottom‐up control by plant species through food availability to animals may vary with time. However, such dynamics and their consequences for deadwood turnover are poorly known for detrital food webs. We introduce a dynamic...
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Background Wind strongly impacts plant growth, leaf traits, biomass allocation, and stem mechanical properties. However, whether there are common whole-plant wind responses among different plant species is still unclear. We tested this null hypothesis by exposing four eudicot steppe species to three different wind treatments in a field experiment:...
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Motivation Trait data are fundamental to the quantitative description of plant form and function. Although root traits capture key dimensions related to plant responses to changing environmental conditions and effects on ecosystem processes, they have rarely been included in large‐scale comparative studies and global models. For instance, root trai...
Preprint
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This paper introduces a modular processing chain to derive global high-resolution maps of leaf traits. In particular, we present global maps at 500 m resolution of specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf nitrogen and phosphorus content per dry mass, and leaf nitrogen/phosphorus ratio. The processing chain exploits machine learning techniq...
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Purpose of Review Defining the mechanisms behind and the leaf economic consequences of the development of sclerophylly in woody plants will allow us to understand its ecological implications, anticipate the potential for adaptation of different tree species to global change, and define new woody plant ideotypes for stress tolerance. Recent Finding...
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Snow roots are a very special type of roots that counteract geotropism to grow upward into long‐lasting snow fields. They develop under snow at near 0ºC, a phenomenon that had previously only been reported from plant shoots (Körner et al. 2019). Up to now, this intriguing and spectacular looking plant structure has been discovered and studied in on...
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Both historical and contemporary environmental conditions determine present biodiversity patterns, but their relative importance is not well understood. One way to disentangle their relative effects is to assess how different dimensions of beta-diversity relate to past climatic changes, i.e., taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional compositional dis...
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Abstract Biomass allocation patterns reflect the adaptive strategies of plants growing in different environments, which is a central issue in comparative plant ecology and evolution. However, the factors underpinning specific allocation patterns across organs and the existence of general rules governing allocation remain contentious. Optimal partit...
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Plant traits reflect growth strategies and trade-offs in response to environmental conditions. Because of climate warming, plant traits might change, altering ecosystem functions and vegetation–climate interactions. Despite important feedbacks of plant trait changes in tundra ecosystems with regional climate, with a key role for shrubs, information...
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Aims Multi-stemming supports plants’ resilience to disturbances and then contributes to soil stabilization and forest function, especially in mountain habitats. Many questions remain about (1) the ontogenetic phase at which multiple stems can occur; (2) how habitat drivers affect multi-stemming and (3) whether ontogenetic phase and habitat drivers...
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Patterns of plant trait variation across spatial scales are important for understanding ecosystem functioning and services. However, habitat-related drivers of these patterns are poorly understood. In a conceptual model, we ask whether and how the patterns of within- and among-site plant trait variation are driven by habitat type (terrestrial vs. w...
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Biodiversity loss can alter ecosystem functioning; however, it remains unclear how it alters decomposition-a critical component of biogeochemical cycles in the biosphere. Here, we provide a global-scale meta-analysis to quantify how changes in the diversity of organic matter derived from plants (i.e. litter) affect rates of decomposition. We find t...
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Aims Grasslands are globally threatened by climate changes and unsustainable land-use, which often cause transitions among alternative stable states, and even catastrophic transition to desertification. Spatial vegetation patch configurations have been shown to signify such transitions at large spatial scale. Here, we demonstrate how small-scale pa...
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Many insects use plant-borne vibrations to obtain important information about their environment, such as where to find a mate or a prey, or when to avoid a predator. Plant species can differ in the way they vibrate, possibly affecting the reliability of information, and ultimately the decisions that are made by animals based on this information. We...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the context of a recent massive increase into research on plant root functions and their impact on the environment, root ecologists currently face many important challenges to keep on producing cutting edge, meaningful and integrated knowledge. Consideration of the belowground components in plant and ecosystem studies has been consistently calle...
Article
Deadwood decomposition plays a crucial role in global carbon and nutrient cycles. Factors controlling deadwood decomposition at local scales could also have strong effects at broader scales. We tested how trait variation within stems (i.e. tissue types) and forest habitat heterogeneity (i.e. location within forest) together influence the deadwood d...
Preprint
Full-text available
Trees are of vital importance for ecosystem functioning and services at local to global scales, yet we still lack a detailed overview of the global patterns of tree diversity and the underlying drivers, particularly the imprint of paleoclimate. Here, we present the high-resolution (110 km) worldwide mapping of tree species richness, functional and...
Article
Understanding what drives soil fauna species composition through space and time is crucial because we should preserve soil fauna biodiversity and its key role in ecosystem functioning in this era of fast environmental change. As plant leaf litter provides both food and habitat for soil fauna, a focus on litter traits that relate to these two functi...
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Leaf stomatal density is known to covary with leaf vein density. However, the functional underpinning of this relation, and how it scales to whole‐plant water transport anatomy, is still unresolved. We hypothesized that the balance of water exchange between the vapour phase (in stomata) and liquid phase (in vessels) depends on the consistent scalin...
Preprint
Full-text available
Motivation Trait data are fundamental to quantitatively describe plant form and function. Although root traits capture key dimensions related to plant responses to changing environmental conditions and effects on ecosystem processes, they have rarely been included in large-scale comparative studies and global models. For instance, root traits remai...
Article
Full-text available
Eupatorium adenophorum is an alien species that threatens community stability and diversity in karst areas. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form interconnected mycorrhizal network, connecting adjacent plants and plant species. How mycorrhizal networks affect the competition for nutrients between invasive and native plants in karst habitat remains...
Article
The increasing frequency of extreme weather events, such as floods, requires management strategies that promote resilience of grassland productivity. Mixtures of plant species may better resist and recover from flooding than monocultures, as they could combine species with stress‐coping and resource acquisition traits. This has not yet been tested...
Article
Urbanisation involves major changes in environmental conditions such as light, temperature, humidity and noise levels, but the effect of urbanisation on soil conditions and soil biodiversity has received less attention. The reported effects on species richness across a rural to urban landscapes are not unequivocal. Positive, negative and neutral ef...
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Although trees are key to ecosystem functioning, many forests and tree species across the globe face strong threats. Preserving areas of high biodiversity is a core priority for conservation; however, different dimensions of biodiversity and varied conservation targets make it difficult to respond effectively to this challenge. Here, we (i) identif...
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Intensively managed grasslands are large sources of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) and important regulators of methane (CH4) consumption and production. The predicted increase in flooding frequency and severity due to climate change could increase N2O emissions and shift grasslands from a net CH4 sink to a source. Therefore, effectiv...
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1.Litter decomposition in sunny, semiarid and arid ecosystems is controlled by both biotic factors including litter traits and abiotic factors including UV light, but for wood decomposition it still remains uncertain which of these environmental factors are the predominant controls among different woody species. In these dry ecosystems it is likely...