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Consequences of biodiversity loss diverge from expectation due to post-extinction compensatory responses

Consequences of biodiversity loss diverge from expectation due to post-extinction compensatory responses
Consequences of biodiversity loss diverge from expectation due to post-extinction compensatory responses
Consensus has been reached that global biodiversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning and the sustainability of services beneficial to humanity. However, the ecosystem consequences of extinction in natural communities are moderated by compensatory species dynamics, yet these processes are rarely accounted for in impact assessments and seldom considered in conservation programmes. Here, we use marine invertebrate communities to parameterise numerical models of sediment bioturbation – a key mediator of biogeochemical cycling – to determine whether post-extinction compensatory mechanisms alter biodiversity-ecosystem function relations following non-random extinctions. We find that compensatory dynamics lead to trajectories of sediment mixing that diverge from those without compensation, and that the form, magnitude and variance of each probabilistic distribution is highly influenced by the type of compensation and the functional composition of surviving species. Our findings indicate that the generalized biodiversity-function relation curve, as derived from multiple empirical investigations of random species loss, is unlikely to yield representative predictions for ecosystem properties in natural systems because the influence of post-extinction community dynamics are under-represented. Recognition of this problem is fundamental to management and conservation efforts, and will be necessary to ensure future plans and adaptation strategies minimize the adverse impacts of the biodiversity crisis.
biodiversity, extinction, community dynamics, species responses, compensation, compensatory responses, bioturbation, Benthic ecology, biodiversity loss
Thomsen, Matthias S.
cf27bb0b-0abf-49cd-8707-d5c50152632c
Garcia, Clement
f81de8f9-9f0e-491a-9212-6238af26a090
Bolam, Stefan G.
7f315777-8ab2-472b-9935-24afb8f66b08
Parker, Ruth
ce41b78b-a29a-4b17-a517-3b2e79f17bba
Godbold, Jasmin A.
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Thomsen, Matthias S.
cf27bb0b-0abf-49cd-8707-d5c50152632c
Garcia, Clement
f81de8f9-9f0e-491a-9212-6238af26a090
Bolam, Stefan G.
7f315777-8ab2-472b-9935-24afb8f66b08
Parker, Ruth
ce41b78b-a29a-4b17-a517-3b2e79f17bba
Godbold, Jasmin A.
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf

Thomsen, Matthias S., Garcia, Clement, Bolam, Stefan G., Parker, Ruth, Godbold, Jasmin A. and Solan, Martin (2017) Consequences of biodiversity loss diverge from expectation due to post-extinction compensatory responses. Scientific Reports, 7, [43695]. (doi:10.1038/srep43695).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Consensus has been reached that global biodiversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning and the sustainability of services beneficial to humanity. However, the ecosystem consequences of extinction in natural communities are moderated by compensatory species dynamics, yet these processes are rarely accounted for in impact assessments and seldom considered in conservation programmes. Here, we use marine invertebrate communities to parameterise numerical models of sediment bioturbation – a key mediator of biogeochemical cycling – to determine whether post-extinction compensatory mechanisms alter biodiversity-ecosystem function relations following non-random extinctions. We find that compensatory dynamics lead to trajectories of sediment mixing that diverge from those without compensation, and that the form, magnitude and variance of each probabilistic distribution is highly influenced by the type of compensation and the functional composition of surviving species. Our findings indicate that the generalized biodiversity-function relation curve, as derived from multiple empirical investigations of random species loss, is unlikely to yield representative predictions for ecosystem properties in natural systems because the influence of post-extinction community dynamics are under-represented. Recognition of this problem is fundamental to management and conservation efforts, and will be necessary to ensure future plans and adaptation strategies minimize the adverse impacts of the biodiversity crisis.

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Accepted/In Press date: 30 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 March 2017
Published date: 3 March 2017
Keywords: biodiversity, extinction, community dynamics, species responses, compensation, compensatory responses, bioturbation, Benthic ecology, biodiversity loss
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biology & Ecology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 406201
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406201
PURE UUID: f7780e77-ed09-4921-8e49-278a45cf225d
ORCID for Jasmin A. Godbold: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5558-8188
ORCID for Martin Solan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9924-5574

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:42
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 03:02

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Contributors

Author: Clement Garcia
Author: Stefan G. Bolam
Author: Ruth Parker
Author: Martin Solan ORCID iD

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