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Project finished in 2014


Plant Functional DIVersity of GRASSlands – Assembling, analysing and sharing data on plant functional diversity to understand the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning : a case study with French Permanent Grasslands

Each grassland is unique. For instance, some contain more species than others, some are taller than others. Why do these differences exist? Are they due to different climatic conditions? Due to the way grasslands are managed by farmers? Due to different soils? What is the impact  of these differences for the functioning of these grasslands (like fodder production for example)? DIVGRASS aimed to integrate and share existing knowledge on plant diversity in French grasslands to elucidate these puzzling questions.
The project proposed a unique compilation of:
  • botanical sampling data,
  • climate, soil and land-use information and
  • information about the functional role of each grassland species (for instance their ability to capture light and transform it into energy).


DIVGRASS showed that the ecological differences are primarily driven by soil and climate variables only when farmers have hardly modified the grasslands. Conversely, when fertilization is high, the project’s researchers found an ecological homogenization of grasslands across the territory. This result has high importance for the predictions of the role played by grasslands in carbon sequestration, water regulation etc. Earth science models do not yet account for ecological differences among grasslands and neglect the effect of different agricultural practices on ecosystem functioning. Therefore, DIVGRASS findings should help to understand the response of grasslands to global change and the effects of grasslands on earth system functioning. 



Philippe CHOLER – CNRS Grenoble (France)



Cyrille VIOLLE – CNRS Montpellier (France), Benjamin BORGY – CNRS Montpellier (France)
ouvrir/fermer Participants:

Guilhem DEBARROS – FCBN Montpellier (France); Sandra LAVOREL – CNRS Grenoble (France); Servane LAVENANT – University of Caen (France); Sylvain DIQUELOU – University of Caen (France); Claudy JOLIVET – INRAE Orléans (France); Dominique ARROUYAYS – INRAE Orléans (France); Bernard AMIAUD – INPL Nacy (France); Paul LEADLEY – University of Orsay (France); Eric GARNIER  – CNRS Montpellier (France); Olivier GIMENEZ – CNRS Montpellier (France); Nicolas VIOVY – LSCE, CEA (France); Sophie GACHET – University of Aix-Marseille (France); Jens KATTGE – Max Planck Institute (Germany); Jean OLIVIER – FCBN (France).

DivGrass brings together experts in grassland ecology, soil ecology and modelling. 

DIVGRASS was selected from the 2010 call for proposals. The project selection process was carried out by a committee of independent experts


[15] Fried G, Armengot L, Storkey J, Bourgeois B, Gaba S, Violle C & Munoz F (2021) Do ecological specialization and functional traits explain the abundance-frequency relationship? Arable weeds as a case study. Journal of Biogeography, 48, 37–50. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13980.


[14] Denelle P, Violle C & Munoz F (2020) Generalist plants are more competitive and more functionally similar to each other than specialist plants: insights from network analyses. Journal of Biogeography, 47, 1922–1933. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13848.


[13] Munoz F, Fried G, Armengot L, Bourgeois B, Bretagnolle V, Chadoeuf J, Mahaut L, Plumejeaud C, Storkey J, Violle C & Gaba S (2020) Ecological specialization and rarity of arable weeds: Insights from a comprehensible survey in France. Plants, 9, 824. DOI: 10.3390/plants9070824.


[12] Bourgeois B, Munoz F, Fried G, Mahaut L, Armengot L, Denelle P, Storkey J, Gaba S & Violle C (2019) What makes a weed a weed? A large-scale evaluation of arable weeds through a functional lens. American Journal of Botany, 106, 90–100. DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1213.


[11] Carboni M, Calderon-Sanou I, Pollock LJ, Violle C, Consortium D & Thuiller W (2018) Functional traits modulate the response of alien plants along abiotic and biotic gradients. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 27, 1173–1185. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12775.


[10] Jaillard B, Deleporte P, Loreau M & Violle C (2018) A combinatorial analysis using observational data identifies species that govern ecosystem functioning. PLoS ONE, 13, e0201135. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201135.


[09] Jaillard B, Richon C, Deleporte P, Loreau M & Violle C (2018) An a posteriori species clustering for quantifying the effects of species interactions on ecosystem functioning. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 704–715. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12920.


[08] Loranger J, Munoz F, Shipley B & Violle C (2018) What makes trait–abundance relationships when both environmental filtering and stochastic neutral dynamics are at play? Oikos, 127, 1735–1745. DOI: 10.1111/oik.05398.


[07] Símová I, Violle C, Svenning J-C, Kattge J, Engemann K, Sandel B, Peet RK, Wiser SK, Blonder B, McGill BJ, Boyle B, Morueta-Holme N, Kraft NJB, van Bodegom PM, Gutiérrez AG, Bahn M, Ozinga WA, Tószögyová A & Enquist BJ (2018) Spatial patterns and climate relationships of major plant traits in the New World differ between woody and herbaceous species. Journal of Biogeography, 45, 895–916. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13171.


[06] Borgy B, Violle C, Choler P, Denelle P, Munoz F, Kattge J, Lavorel S, Loranger J, Amiaud B, Bahn M, van Bodegom PM, Brisse H, Debarros G, Diquelou S, Gachet S, Jolivet C, Lemauviel-Lavenant S, Mikolajczak A, Olivier J, Ordoñez J, de Ruffray P, Viovy N & Garnier E (2017) Plant community structure and nitrogen inputs modulate the climate signal on leaf traits. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 26, 1138–1152. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12623.


[05] Borgy B, Violle C, Choler P, Garnier E, Kattge J, Loranger J, Amiaud B, Cellier P, Debarros G, Denelle P, Diquelou S, Gachet S, Jolivet C, Lavorel S, Lemauviel-Lavenant S, Mikolajczak A, Munoz F, Olivier J & Viovy N (2017) Sensitivity of community-level trait–environment relationships to data representativeness: A test for functional biogeography. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 26, 729–739. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12573.


[04] Carboni M, Münkemüller T, Lavergne S, Choler P, Borgy B, Violle C, Essl F, Roquet C, Munoz F & Thuiller W (2015) What it takes to invade grassland ecosystems: traits, introduction history and filtering processes. Ecology Letters, 19, 219–229. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12556.


[03] Violle C, Borgy B & Choler P (2015) Trait databases: Misuses and precautions. Journal of Vegetation Science, 26, 826–827. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12325.


[02] Violle C, Choler P, Borgy B, Garnier E, Amiaud B, Debarros G, Diquelou S, Gachet S, Jolivet C, Kattge J, Lavorel S, Lemauviel-Lavenant S, Loranger J, Mikolajczak A, Munoz F, Olivier J & Viovy N (2015) Vegetation ecology meets ecosystem science: Permanent grasslands as a functional biogeography case study. Science of the Total Environment, 534, 43–51. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.03.141.


[01] Violle C, Reich PB, Pacala SW, Enquist BJ & Kattge J (2014) The emergence and promise of functional biogeography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 13690–13696. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1415442111.