The effects of tropospheric ozone on the species dynamics of calcareous grassland

Environ Pollut. 2006 Nov;144(2):500-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2006.01.028. Epub 2006 Mar 13.


Although ozone has been shown to reduce the growth of individual species and to alter the composition of simple species mixtures, there is little understanding of its long-term effects on species dynamics and composition in real communities. Intact turfs of calcareous grassland were exposed to four different ozone regimes in open-top chambers over three consecutive summers. Treatments provided a mean seasonal AOT40 ranging from approximately zero to 15 ppm h. Cumulative ozone exposure was a significant factor in compositional change, but only explained 4.6% of the variation. The dominant grass species (Festuca rubra) showed a consistent decline in cover in the high ozone treatment over time and the forb Campanula rotundifolia was lost from all three ozone treatments. The frequency of some species (Galium verum and Plantago lanceolata) increased with ozone exposure. Long-term effects of ozone on species composition in chalk grassland may be a function of both the sensitivity of individual species and the response of the dominant species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Biodiversity
  • Calcium
  • Ecosystem*
  • England
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Ozone / toxicity*
  • Poaceae / drug effects*
  • Poaceae / growth & development
  • Seasons


  • Air Pollutants
  • Ozone
  • Calcium