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DRAGNet Opt-Out Paper Timeline

Participants are welcome to join DRAGNet at any time, and we are confident that there will be new questions to be addressed based on experience with NutNet. We have an initial set of papers planned for all participants that submit observational (Year 0) data by December 2022. Opt-out papers include all participants by default; we hope this entices participants to join early!

We have structured this plan with early-career scientists in mind, including new faculty on a five- or six-year tenure clock, and new Masters’ and Ph.D. students on a two- to five-year plan who will enter their program in 2019 or 2020. One of our goals is for everyone to have network-level observational (Year 0, pre-treatment) data to work with by December 2022. All DRAGNet participants would have access to the complete Nutrient Network database upon receipt of their site survey information, which marks their commitment to joining the experiment. Next, we aim to have first-year treatment data to analyze by August 2023, our first opt-out paper in review by January 2024 (5.5 years from August 2019), and at least one more opt-out paper in prep by August 2025 (6 years from August 2019).

We hope to hold one or more writing retreats to facilitate the development of these manuscripts; such retreats have been of enormous value to NutNet.


  • December 1, 2022
    • Year -1 core data (biomass, light, cover; Timeline 1 full seed study sites only)
    • Site survey form to HQ (all sites)
    • Year 0 core data to HQ (all sites)
    • Soil Samples to DRAGNet HQ for analysis (all sites)
  • December 1, 2023: Year 1 core data to DRAGNet HQ
  • August 2024: Optional; writing retreat for Opt-out paper 1
  • ca. January 2024: Submit opt-out paper 1 for review
  • ca. August 2024: Optional; writing retreat for Opt-out paper 3 (seed bank study)
  • ca. January 2025: Submit Opt-out paper 3 for review
  • April 1, 2025
    • Years 2 and Year 3 core data
    • Year 3 soil samples to DRAGNet HQ for analysis
  • ca. August 2025: Optional; writing retreat for Opt-out paper 2
  • ca. January 2026: Submit opt-out paper 2 for publication
  • ca. January 2023? Submit opt-out paper 4 for publication



We will write the following opt-out papers.

Paper 1 [Uses core data from Years 0 and 1]

What are the site-level predictors (climate, soil, pre-treatment community composition) of short-term plant community responses (species richness, and community composition) to one year of disturbance and nutrient addition?

Paper 2 [Uses core data from years 0, 1, 2, and 3]

Do elevated nutrients interact with site-level biotic and abiotic characteristics to reduce the diversity, functional groups, and plant species composition after repeated disturbances?

Paper 3 [Uses core data and seed rain/seed bank data from Years -1, 0, 1]

The third opt-out paper will directly address spatial and temporal dynamics of movement, with the aim of connecting patterns of community assembly post-disturbance with dispersal and storage patterns. This paper will require essential data from the seed bank and dispersal measurements in order to test for the contributions of local versus regional-type processes. With these data we can compare the composition of the seed bank to the seed rain, and to the original community (time 0) to the resulting communities and test to which degree these communities are assembling in an open- or closed-system ways. Comparison between the adult community and the seed community would also inform the trajectories communities might be expected follow after disturbance: does the dormant seed community differ from the resident adult community? The paper will compare community recovery 1-year post disturbance to seed bank and seed rain diversity and composition. To qualify for opt-out participation, participants need to collect one or more of: Y-1 pre-treatment seed rain data, Y0 seed bank and seed rain data, and Y1 cover data.

Paper 4 [Uses core data from Years 0-10]

What factors confer greater community resistance to, or resilience after, short-term nutrient addition? Are these the same factors that determine community responses to disturbance? [Data used: core sampling data from Years 0-10].


Authorship guidelines from NutNet will apply.