Title: Marine biodiversity and ecosystem function relationships: the potential for practical monitoring applications
Authors: STRONG JamesANDONEGI EiderBIZSEL Kemal CanDANOVARO RobertoELLIOTT MikeFRANCO AnitaGARCES EstherLITTLE SallyMAZIK KrysiaMONCHEVA SnejanaPAPADOPOULOU NadiaMATEUS PATRICIO JOANAQUEIRÓS Ana M.SMITH ChrisSTEFANOVA KremenaSOLAUN Oihana
Citation: ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE vol. 161 p. 46-64
Publisher: ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC94455
ISSN: 0272-7714
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771415001389
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC94455
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2015.04.008
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: There is an increasing demand for environmental assessments of the marine environment to include ecosystem function. However, existing schemes are predominantly based on taxonomic (i.e. structural) measures of biodiversity. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function (BEF) relationships are suggested to provide a mechanism for converting taxonomic information into surrogates of ecosystem function. This review assesses the evidence for marine BEF relationships and their potential to be used in practical monitoring applications (i.e. operationalized). Five key requirements were identified for the practical application of BEF relationships: 1) a complete understanding of strength, direction and prevalence of marine BEF relationships, 2) an understanding of which biological components are influential within specific BEF relationships, 3) the biodiversity of the selected biological components can be measured easily, 4) detail which ecological mechanisms are the most important for generating marine BEF relationships, e.g. identity effects or complementarity, and 5) establish what proportion of the overall functional variance is explained by biodiversity, and hence BEF relationships. Many positive and some negative BEF relationships were found within the literature, although many reproduced poorly the natural species richness, trophic structures or multiple functions of real ecosystems. Null relationships were also reported. The consistency of the positive and negative relationships was often low that compromised the ability to generalize BEF relationships and confident application of BEF within marine monitoring. Equally, some biological components and functions have received little or no investigation. Expert judgement was used to attribute biological components using spatial extent, presence and functional rate criteria. This approach highlighted the main contributing biological components to the ecosystem functions, and that many of the particularly influential components were found to have received the least amount of research attention. The need for biodiversity to be measureable (requirement 3) is possible for most biological components although difficult within the functionally important microbes. Identity effects underpinned most marine BEF relationships (requirement 4). As such, processes that translated structural biodiversity measures into functional diversity were found to generate better BEF relationships.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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