Contemporary biodiversity pattern is affected by climate change at multiple temporal scales in steppe on the Mongolian Plateau
Abstract. Present and historical climate conditions jointly determine contemporary biodiversity patterns and ecosystem functions. However, it remains unclear how contemporary climate and paleoclimate changes together affect the three dimensions of biodiversity (i.e., taxonomic diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity) and their relationship with ecosystem functions. Here, we assess the impact of current climate, paleoclimate and its anomalies on contemporary biodiversity and ecosystem functions. We estimated the taxonomic diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity of grassland on the Mongolian Plateau using vegetation survey data and trait information. We then used Random Forest models and Structural Equation models to assess the relative importance of the present climate, the Mid Holocene climate, the Last-Glacial Maximum climate and paleoclimate changes as determinants of diversity and aboveground biomass. Our results showed that paleoclimate changes and modern climate jointly determined contemporary biodiversity patterns, while community biomass was mainly affected by modern climate, namely the aridity index. Modern aridity and temperature were two major influences on all three dimensions of biodiversity. Mid-Holocene climate anomalies had a strong effect on species richness and phylogenetic diversity, while functional diversity was mainly affected by temperature anomalies since the Last Glacial Maximum. These findings suggest that contemporary biodiversity patterns may be affected by processes at divergent temporal scales. Our results show that simultaneously exploring the response of the three dimensions of biodiversity in different periods of climate change and the theoretical framework for its impact on community biomass is helpful to provide a more comprehensive understanding of patterns of biodiversity and its relationship with ecosystem functions.
Zijing Li et al.
Status: final response (author comments only)
- RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-173', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Oct 2022
- RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-173', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Mar 2023
Zijing Li et al.
Zijing Li et al.
Viewed (geographical distribution)
This paper studied the response of three dimensions of biodiversity of grassland in different periods of climate change, and formed a theoretical framework for their impacts on community biomass, based on 152 grassland sites set on Mongolia Plateau. It's a good job.
My only concern is that, were the community biomass measured in the same year or not? If there’re measured in the same year, is it a good year or a bad year (biomass always varies greatly from year to year, especially for grassland)? Data matching is always a big problem. Data on meteorological and plant functional traits used in this paper are obtained as interpolated or observed averages, whereas data of community biomass are measured values.
Line 10: Pastoral
Line 49: ‘biodiversity and ecosystem functions’ is not one word.
Line 60: the abbreviation of BEF is not appropriate here.
Line 80: need reference.
Line 82: the location of the reference is inappropriate.
Methods: Why five indicators of functional diversity were selected, while only three indicators of other two kinds of diversity were selected? Would it affect the results of their “relative effect”?
Discussion: the answer to science question 3 needs to be strengthened in the discussion section.