Biogeochemical implications of biodiversity and community structure across multiple coastal ecosystems

Allgeier, Jacob E., Layman, Craig A., Mumby, Peter J. and Rosemond, Amy D. (2015) Biogeochemical implications of biodiversity and community structure across multiple coastal ecosystems. Ecological Monographs, 85 1: 117-132.

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Author Allgeier, Jacob E.
Layman, Craig A.
Mumby, Peter J.
Rosemond, Amy D.
Title Biogeochemical implications of biodiversity and community structure across multiple coastal ecosystems
Journal name Ecological Monographs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9615
Publication date 2015-02-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 85
Issue 1
Start page 117
End page 132
Total pages 16
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Small-scale experiments and theory suggest that ecological functions provided by communities become more stable with increased species richness. Whether these patterns manifest at regional spatial scales and within species-rich communities (e.g., coral reefs) is largely unknown. We quantified five biogeochemical processes, and an aggregate measure of multifunctionality, in species-rich coastal fish communities to test three questions: (1) Do previously predicted biodiversity–ecosystem-function relationships hold across large spatial scales and in highly diverse communities? (2) Can additional covariates of community structure improve these relationships? (3) What is the role of community biomass and functional group diversity in maintaining biogeochemical processes under various scenarios of species loss across ecosystem types? These questions were tested across a large regional gradient of coral reef, mangrove and seagrass ecosystems. Statistical models demonstrated that species richness and the mean maximum body size per species strongly predicted biogeochemical processes in all ecosystem types, but functional group diversity was only a weak predictor. Simulating three scenarios of species loss demonstrated that conserving community biomass alone increased the ability for communities to maintain ecosystem processes. Multifunctionality of biogeochemical processes was maintained least in simulations that conserved biomass and community structure, underscoring the relative lack of importance of community structure in maintaining multiple simultaneous ecosystem functions in this system. Findings suggest that conserving community biomass alone may be sufficient to sustain certain biogeochemical processes, but when considering conservation of multiple simultaneous biogeochemical processes, management efforts should focus first on species richness.
Keyword Consumervdriven nutrient recycling
Coral reef
Ecosystem function
Food web
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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