Local biodiversity change reflects interactions among changing abundance, evenness, and richness
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Biodiversity metrics often integrate data on the presence and abundance of multiple species. Yet our understanding of covariation between changes to the numbers of individuals, the evenness of species relative abundances, and the total number of species remains limited. Using individual-based rarefaction curves, we introduce a conceptual framework to understand how expected positive relationships among changes in abundance, evenness and richness arise, and how they can break down. We then examined interdependencies between changes in abundance, evenness and richness in more than 1100 assemblages sampled either through time or across space. As predicted, richness changes were greatest when abundance and evenness changed in the same direction, and countervailing changes in abundance and evenness acted to constrain the magnitude of changes in species richness. Site-to-site differences in abundance, evenness, and richness were often decoupled, and pairwise relationships between these components across assemblages were weak. In contrast, changes in species richness and relative abundance were strongly correlated for assemblages varying through time. Temporal changes in local biodiversity showed greater inertia and stronger relationships between the component changes when compared to site-to-site variation. Overall, local variation in assemblage diversity was rarely due to repeated passive samples from an approximately static species abundance distribution. Instead, changing species relative abundances often dominated local variation in diversity. Moreover, how changing relative abundances combined with changes to total abundance frequently determined the magnitude of richness changes. Embracing the interdependencies between changing abundance, evenness and richness can provide new information for better understanding biodiversity change in the Anthropocene.
Blowes , S A , Daskalova , G N , Dornelas , M , Engel , T , Gotelli , N J , Magurran , A E , Martins , I S , McGill , B , McGlinn , D J , Sagouis , A , Shimadzu , H , Supp , S R & Chase , J M 2022 , ' Local biodiversity change reflects interactions among changing abundance, evenness, and richness ' , Ecology , vol. Early View , e3820 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3820
© 2022 The Authors. Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Ecological Society of America. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionSAB, TE, AS, and JMC were supported by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the German Research Foundation (FZT 118).
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