Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Qinfeng Guo
    Date: 2011
    Source: Journal of Plant Ecology 4(3):132-137
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (179.94 KB)


    With a few exceptions, most well-known field biodiversity experiments on ecosystem functioning have been conducted in plant communities (especially grasslands) in which different numbers of species are planted as treatments. In these experiments, investigators have either kept the total seed weight or seed number constant across treatment plots. However, although in some cases attempts have been made to randomly choose species for planting from a designated species pool, the issue of possible ‘hidden treatments’ remains unsolved. Particularly, the total and relative abundance among species and across treatments could still affect the results. This study aims to determine whether treatments related to planted seed abundance and seed size may contribute to observed productivity. Methods - We re-analyzed data from four biodiversity experiments based on a common seeding design (i.e. diversity treatments). Important Findings - We show that diversity (richness) treatments usually involve a hidden treatment related to the planted seeds (i.e. weight, number and seed size) that ultimately affect plant density. Thus, the un-intended hidden treatment of seeding more seeds on more diverse plots contributes to the productivity to some degree. Such derivative but often neglected hidden treatments are important for further improvement of experimental design and have significant implications in ecological restoration.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Guo, Qinfeng. 2011. Seed size- and density-related hidden treatments in common biodiversity experiments. Journal of Plant Ecology 4(3):132-137.


    experimental design, productivity, restoration, seed number, seed weight

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page