Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss
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The extent to which biodiversity change in local assemblages contributes to global biodiversity loss is poorly understood. We analyzed 100 time series from biomes across Earth to ask how diversity within assemblages is changing through time. We quantified patterns of temporal α diversity, measured as change in local diversity, and temporal β diversity, measured as change in community composition. Contrary to our expectations, we did not detect systematic loss of α diversity. However, community composition changed systematically through time, in excess of predictions from null models. Heterogeneous rates of environmental change, species range shifts associated with climate change, and biotic homogenization may explain the different patterns of temporal α and β diversity. Monitoring and understanding change in species composition should be a conservation priority.
Dornelas , M , Gotelli , N J , McGill , B , Shimadzu , H , Moyes , F , Sievers , C & Magurran , A E 2014 , ' Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss ' Science , vol 344 , no. 6181 , pp. 296-299 . DOI: 10.1126/science.1248484
© 2014. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 344, 18 April 2014, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1248484
This work is supported by the Scottish Funding Council (MASTS, grant reference HR09011).
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