Assessing the ecological impacts of environmental change requires knowledge of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The exact nature of this relationship can differ considerably between ecosystems, with consequences for the efficacy of species diversity as a buffer against environmental change. Using a microbial model system, we show that the relationship can vary depending on environmental conditions. Shapes suggesting functional redundancy in one environment can change, suggesting functional differences in another environment. We find that this change is due to shifting species roles and interactions. Species that are functionally redundant in one environment may become pivotal in another. Thus, caution is advised in drawing conclusions about functional redundancy based on a single environmental situation. It also implies that species richness is important because it provides a pool of species with potentially relevant traits. These species may turn out to be essential performers or partners in new interspecific interactions after environmental change. Therefore, our results challenge the generality of functional redundancy.
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Educational news | 2018-07-02
LEAP our leadership programme designed for changemakers that want to lead social-ecological transformations to sustainability. Application deadline is 5 August 2018.
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it
Research news | 2018-06-26
Profit-maximizing approaches are most likely to produce outcomes that harm people or the environment. But it depends on the circumstances whether a sustainable or a safe approach is most suitable, new study argues
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend