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Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness

(2017) ECOLOGY LETTERS. 20(10). p.1315-1324
Author
Abstract
There has been considerable focus on the impacts of environmental change on ecosystem function arising from changes in species richness. However, environmental change may affect ecosystem function without affecting richness, most notably by affecting population densities and community composition. Using a theoretical model, we find that, despite invariant richness, (1) small environmental effects may already lead to a collapse of function; (2) competitive strength may be a less important determinant of ecosystem function change than the selectivity of the environmental change driver and (3) effects on ecosystem function increase when effects on composition are larger. We also present a complementary statistical analysis of 13 data sets of phytoplankton and periphyton communities exposed to chemical stressors and show that effects on primary production under invariant richness ranged from -75% to +10%. We conclude that environmental protection goals relying on measures of richness could underestimate ecological impacts of environmental change.
Keywords
Algae, biodiversity, coexistence, community ecology, modelling, primary production, LOCAL BIODIVERSITY CHANGE, PRICE EQUATION PARTITION, CLIMATE-CHANGE, ECOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES, ENVIRONMENTAL-STRESS, SPECIES-DIVERSITY, GENETIC DIVERSITY, GLOBAL CHANGE, EXTINCTION, SCALE

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Citation

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Chicago
Spaak, Jurg W., Jan Baert, Donald J. Baird, Nico Eisenhauer, Lorraine Maltby, Francesco Pomati, Viktoriia Radchuk, Jason R. Rohr, Paul J. Van den Brink, and Frederik De Laender. 2017. “Shifts of Community Composition and Population Density Substantially Affect Ecosystem Function Despite Invariant Richness.” Ecology Letters 20 (10): 1315–1324.
APA
Spaak, J. W., Baert, J., Baird, D. J., Eisenhauer, N., Maltby, L., Pomati, F., Radchuk, V., et al. (2017). Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness. ECOLOGY LETTERS, 20(10), 1315–1324.
Vancouver
1.
Spaak JW, Baert J, Baird DJ, Eisenhauer N, Maltby L, Pomati F, et al. Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness. ECOLOGY LETTERS. 2017;20(10):1315–24.
MLA
Spaak, Jurg W., Jan Baert, Donald J. Baird, et al. “Shifts of Community Composition and Population Density Substantially Affect Ecosystem Function Despite Invariant Richness.” ECOLOGY LETTERS 20.10 (2017): 1315–1324. Print.
@article{8532414,
  abstract     = {There has been considerable focus on the impacts of environmental change on ecosystem function arising from changes in species richness. However, environmental change may affect ecosystem function without affecting richness, most notably by affecting population densities and community composition. Using a theoretical model, we find that, despite invariant richness, (1) small environmental effects may already lead to a collapse of function; (2) competitive strength may be a less important determinant of ecosystem function change than the selectivity of the environmental change driver and (3) effects on ecosystem function increase when effects on composition are larger. We also present a complementary statistical analysis of 13 data sets of phytoplankton and periphyton communities exposed to chemical stressors and show that effects on primary production under invariant richness ranged from -75\% to +10\%. We conclude that environmental protection goals relying on measures of richness could underestimate ecological impacts of environmental change.},
  author       = {Spaak, Jurg W. and Baert, Jan and Baird, Donald J. and Eisenhauer, Nico and Maltby, Lorraine and Pomati, Francesco and Radchuk, Viktoriia and Rohr, Jason R. and Van den Brink, Paul J. and De Laender, Frederik},
  issn         = {1461-023X},
  journal      = {ECOLOGY LETTERS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {1315--1324},
  title        = {Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12828},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2017},
}

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