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Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity

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Stuart-Smith, RD and Bates, A and Lefcheck, JS and Duffy, JE and Baker, SC and Thomson, RJ and Stuart-Smith, JF and Hill, NA and Kininmonth, SJ and Airoldi, L and Becerro, MA and Campbell, SJ and Dawson, TP and Navarrete, SA and Soler, GA and Strain, EMA and Willis, TJ and Edgar, GJ (2013) Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity. Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity, 501. pp. 539-542. ISSN 0028-0836

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Abstract

Species richness has dominated our viewof global biodiversity patterns
for centuries1,2. The dominance of this paradigm is reflected in the
focus by ecologists and conservationmanagers on richness and associated
occurrence-basedmeasures for understanding drivers of broadscale
diversity patterns and as a biological basis for management3,4.
However, this is changing rapidly, as it is now recognized that not
only the number of species but the species present, their phenotypes
and the number of individuals of each species are critical in determining
the nature and strength of the relationships between species
diversity and a range of ecological functions (such as biomass production
and nutrient cycling)5. Integrating these measures should
provide a more relevant representation of global biodiversity patterns
in terms of ecological functions than that provided by simple
species counts. Here we provide comparisons of a traditional global
biodiversity distribution measure based on richness with metrics
that incorporate species abundances and functional traits. We use
data fromstandardized quantitative surveys of 2,473marine reef fish
species at 1,844 sites, spanning 133 degrees of latitude from all
ocean basins, to identify new diversity hotspots in some temperate
regions and the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. These relate to high
diversity of functional traits amongst individuals in the community
(calculated using Rao’s Q6), and differ from previously reported
patterns in functional diversity and richness for terrestrial animals,
which emphasize species-rich tropical regions only7,8. There is a
global trend for greater evenness in the number of individuals of
each species, across the reef fish species observed at sites (‘community
evenness’), at higher latitudes. This contributes to the distribution of
functional diversity hotspots and contrasts with well-known latitudinal
gradients in richness2,4. Our findings suggest that the contribution
of species diversity to a range of ecosystem functions varies
over large scales, and imply that in tropical regions, which have
higher numbers of species, each species contributes proportionally
less to community-level ecological processes on average than species
in temperate regions. Metrics of ecological function usefully
complement metrics of species diversity in conservation management,
including when identifying planning priorities and when
tracking changes to biodiversity values.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity
Page Range: pp. 539-542
ISSN: 0028-0836
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1038/nature12529
Additional Information:

Copyright 2013 Macmillan

Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 05:20
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:55
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