The Park Grass Experiment 1856 - 2006: Its Contribution to Ecology

Silvertown, Jonathan; Poulton, Paul; Johnston, Edward; Edwards, Grant; Heard, Matthew and Biss, Pamela M. (2006). The Park Grass Experiment 1856 - 2006: Its Contribution to Ecology. Journal of Ecology, 94(4) pp. 801–814.



From the summary: The Park Grass Experiment, begun in 1856, is the oldest ecological experiment in existence. Its value to science has changed and grown since it was founded to answer agricultural questions. In recent times the experiment has shown inter alia how: plant species richness, biomass and pH are related; community composition responds to climatic perturbation and nutrient additions; soil is acidified and corrected by liming. It also provided one of the first demonstrations of the evolution of adaptation at a very local scale and contains a putative case of the evolution of reproductive isolation by reinforcement. The application of molecular genetic markers to archived plant material promises to reveal a whole new chapter of genetic detail about the long-term dynamics of plant populations.

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