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Compensatory responses can alter the form of the biodiversity-function relation curve

Compensatory responses can alter the form of the biodiversity-function relation curve
Compensatory responses can alter the form of the biodiversity-function relation curve

There is now strong evidence that ecosystem properties are influenced by alterations in biodiversity. The consensus that has emerged from over two decades of research is that the form of the biodiversity-functioning relationship follows a saturating curve. However, the foundation from which these conclusions are drawn mostly stems from empirical investigations that have not accounted for post-extinction changes in community composition and structure, or how surviving species respond to new circumstances and modify their contribution to functioning. Here, we use marine sediment-dwelling invertebrate communities to experimentally assess whether post-extinction compensatory mechanisms (simulated by increasing species biomass) have the potential to alter biodiversity-ecosystem function relations. Consistent with recent numerical simulations, we find that the form of the biodiversity-function curve is dependent on whether or not compensatory responses are present, the cause and extent of extinction, and species density. When species losses are combined with the compensatory responses of surviving species, both community composition, dominance structure, and the pool and relative expression of functionally important traits change and affect species interactions and behaviour. These observations emphasize the importance of post-extinction community composition in determining the stability of ecosystem functioning following extinction. Our results caution against the use of the generalized biodiversity-function curve when generating probabilistic estimates of post-extinction ecosystem properties for practical application.

ecosystem function, effect traits, evenness, extinction debt, response traits, species response
0962-8452
Thomsen, Matthias S.
e7cd9088-470d-47d0-9b87-59e3bd6b03d3
Godbold, Jasmin A.
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Garcia, Clement
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Bolam, Stefan G.
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Parker, Ruth
ce41b78b-a29a-4b17-a517-3b2e79f17bba
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Thomsen, Matthias S.
e7cd9088-470d-47d0-9b87-59e3bd6b03d3
Godbold, Jasmin A.
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Garcia, Clement
f81de8f9-9f0e-491a-9212-6238af26a090
Bolam, Stefan G.
7f315777-8ab2-472b-9935-24afb8f66b08
Parker, Ruth
ce41b78b-a29a-4b17-a517-3b2e79f17bba
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf

Thomsen, Matthias S., Godbold, Jasmin A., Garcia, Clement, Bolam, Stefan G., Parker, Ruth and Solan, Martin (2019) Compensatory responses can alter the form of the biodiversity-function relation curve. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286 (1901). (doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0287).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is now strong evidence that ecosystem properties are influenced by alterations in biodiversity. The consensus that has emerged from over two decades of research is that the form of the biodiversity-functioning relationship follows a saturating curve. However, the foundation from which these conclusions are drawn mostly stems from empirical investigations that have not accounted for post-extinction changes in community composition and structure, or how surviving species respond to new circumstances and modify their contribution to functioning. Here, we use marine sediment-dwelling invertebrate communities to experimentally assess whether post-extinction compensatory mechanisms (simulated by increasing species biomass) have the potential to alter biodiversity-ecosystem function relations. Consistent with recent numerical simulations, we find that the form of the biodiversity-function curve is dependent on whether or not compensatory responses are present, the cause and extent of extinction, and species density. When species losses are combined with the compensatory responses of surviving species, both community composition, dominance structure, and the pool and relative expression of functionally important traits change and affect species interactions and behaviour. These observations emphasize the importance of post-extinction community composition in determining the stability of ecosystem functioning following extinction. Our results caution against the use of the generalized biodiversity-function curve when generating probabilistic estimates of post-extinction ecosystem properties for practical application.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 March 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 April 2019
Published date: 24 April 2019
Keywords: ecosystem function, effect traits, evenness, extinction debt, response traits, species response

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430717
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430717
ISSN: 0962-8452
PURE UUID: 94ed15b4-9307-4e4d-b0fc-0bb9edf02f8e
ORCID for Matthias S. Thomsen: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9017-3997
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: 09 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:41

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