High vulnerability of ecosystem function and services to diversity loss in Caribbean coral reefs

Micheli, Fiorenza, Mumby, Peter J., Brumbaugh, Daniel R., Broad, Kenny, Dahlgren, Craig P., Harborne, Alastair R., Holmes, Katherine E., Kappel, Carrie V., Litvin, Steven Y. and Sanchirico, James N. (2014) High vulnerability of ecosystem function and services to diversity loss in Caribbean coral reefs. Biological Conservation, 171 186-194. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.12.029

Author Micheli, Fiorenza
Mumby, Peter J.
Brumbaugh, Daniel R.
Broad, Kenny
Dahlgren, Craig P.
Harborne, Alastair R.
Holmes, Katherine E.
Kappel, Carrie V.
Litvin, Steven Y.
Sanchirico, James N.
Title High vulnerability of ecosystem function and services to diversity loss in Caribbean coral reefs
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.12.029
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 171
Start page 186
End page 194
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1105 Dentistry
2309 Nature and Landscape Conservation
Abstract Determining how ecosystem function and services are related to diversity is necessary for predicting the consequences of diversity loss and for setting goals and priorities for marine conservation. The consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functions and services depend on the level of functional redundancy - the number of species with similar ecological functional traits. Using field data on fish assemblages from 199 coral reef and lagoon sites from six islands, and on local fisheries from four islands in The Bahamas, we examined levels of functional diversity and redundancy within these assemblages and determined how fish biomass and local fisheries catches vary with local diversity. A majority of functional groups contain few species, suggesting that these assemblages have limited functional redundancy. Most also include species targeted by local fisheries, thus fishing has the potential to broadly impact food webs. Comparisons between a large marine reserve and fished reefs confirm that fishing significantly reduces functional redundancy and removes whole functional groups. Positive exponential relationships of fish biomass and fisheries catches with species and functional diversity highlight that even small declines in biodiversity may result in large reductions in secondary production and seafood provision. Taken together, these results indicate that Caribbean fish assemblages have low functional redundancy and high vulnerability of ecosystem functions and services to diversity loss, and that protection of multi-species assemblages is needed to maintain functions and services.
Keyword Biodiversity
Coral reef
Ecosystem functioning
Ecosystem services
Functional diversity
Functional redundancy
Marine reserve
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID OCE-0119976
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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