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Species interactions and environmental context affect intraspecific behavioural trait variation and ecosystem function

Species interactions and environmental context affect intraspecific behavioural trait variation and ecosystem function
Species interactions and environmental context affect intraspecific behavioural trait variation and ecosystem function
Functional trait-based approaches are increasingly adopted to understand and project ecological responses to environmental change, however most assume trait expression is constant between conspecifics irrespective of context. Using two species of benthic invertebrate (brittlestars Amphiura filiformis and A. chiajei) we demonstrate that trait expression at individual and community levels differs with biotic and abiotic context. We use PERMANOVA to test the effect of species identity, density and local environmental history on individual (righting and burrowing) and community (particle reworking and burrow ventilation) trait expression, as well as associated effects on ecosystem functioning (sediment nutrient release). Trait expression differs with context, with repercussions for the faunal mediation of ecosystem processes; we find increased rates of righting and burial behaviour and greater particle reworking with increasing density that are reflected in nutrient generation. However, the magnitude of effects differed within and between species, arising from site-specific environmental and morphological differences. Our results indicate that traits and processes influencing change in ecosystem functioning are products of both prevailing and historic conditions that cannot be constrained within typologies. Trait-based study must incorporate context-dependent variation, including intraspecific differences from individual to ecosystem scales, to avoid jeopardising projections of ecosystem functioning and service delivery.
Bioturbation, Community composition, Functional diversity, Functional traits, Intraspecific variation, Trait expression
0962-8452
1-10
Cassidy, Camilla
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Grange, Laura
8de65684-8e14-4cc2-89d1-ca20322714e4
Garcia, Clement
dc3363f5-ea32-4eb1-a9aa-48430be0184c
Bolam, Stefen G
423e9bad-ec9e-42de-8242-710f9e3f41eb
Godbold, Jasmin
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Cassidy, Camilla
66de2947-e3b7-4817-9ece-763810723d8b
Grange, Laura
8de65684-8e14-4cc2-89d1-ca20322714e4
Garcia, Clement
dc3363f5-ea32-4eb1-a9aa-48430be0184c
Bolam, Stefen G
423e9bad-ec9e-42de-8242-710f9e3f41eb
Godbold, Jasmin
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a

Cassidy, Camilla, Grange, Laura, Garcia, Clement, Bolam, Stefen G and Godbold, Jasmin (2020) Species interactions and environmental context affect intraspecific behavioural trait variation and ecosystem function. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287 (1919), 1-10, [20192143]. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.2143).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Functional trait-based approaches are increasingly adopted to understand and project ecological responses to environmental change, however most assume trait expression is constant between conspecifics irrespective of context. Using two species of benthic invertebrate (brittlestars Amphiura filiformis and A. chiajei) we demonstrate that trait expression at individual and community levels differs with biotic and abiotic context. We use PERMANOVA to test the effect of species identity, density and local environmental history on individual (righting and burrowing) and community (particle reworking and burrow ventilation) trait expression, as well as associated effects on ecosystem functioning (sediment nutrient release). Trait expression differs with context, with repercussions for the faunal mediation of ecosystem processes; we find increased rates of righting and burial behaviour and greater particle reworking with increasing density that are reflected in nutrient generation. However, the magnitude of effects differed within and between species, arising from site-specific environmental and morphological differences. Our results indicate that traits and processes influencing change in ecosystem functioning are products of both prevailing and historic conditions that cannot be constrained within typologies. Trait-based study must incorporate context-dependent variation, including intraspecific differences from individual to ecosystem scales, to avoid jeopardising projections of ecosystem functioning and service delivery.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 January 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 January 2020
Published date: January 2020
Keywords: Bioturbation, Community composition, Functional diversity, Functional traits, Intraspecific variation, Trait expression

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436947
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436947
ISSN: 0962-8452
PURE UUID: 5c37c30d-95a3-47e7-9772-abaac61fd35d
ORCID for Laura Grange: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9222-6848
ORCID for Jasmin Godbold: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5558-8188

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Date deposited: 14 Jan 2020 17:31
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:23

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Contributors

Author: Camilla Cassidy
Author: Laura Grange ORCID iD
Author: Clement Garcia
Author: Stefen G Bolam
Author: Jasmin Godbold ORCID iD

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