Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss
journal contributionposted on 20.04.2016, 16:12 by Maria Dornelas, Nicholas J. Gotelli, Brian McGill, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Faye Moyes, Caya Sievers, Anne E. Magurran
The extent to which biodiversity change in local assemblages contributes to global biodiversity loss is poorly understood. We analyzed 100 time series from biomes across Earth to ask how diversity within assemblages is changing through time. We quantified patterns of temporal α diversity, measured as change in local diversity, and temporal β diversity, measured as change in community composition. Contrary to our expectations, we did not detect systematic loss of α diversity. However, community composition changed systematically through time, in excess of predictions from null models. Heterogeneous rates of environmental change, species range shifts associated with climate change, and biotic homogenization may explain the different patterns of temporal α and β diversity. Monitoring and understanding change in species composition should be a conservation priority.
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Supported by the European Research Council (BioTIME 250189), the Scottish Funding Council (MASTS, grant reference HR09011) (M.D.), and the Royal Society (A.E.M.).
- Mathematical Sciences