We tend to assume that if there are more species in a given site that this typically leads to a better functioning ecosystem with for instance a higher production of biomass. In a new paper in Ecology Letters, we show that this is invalid. It’s not how many species that are present that matters, it’s how many species that had an opportunity to be present (the regional species pool) that determines functioning.
This illustrates that we need to conserve regional biodiversity to support our ecosystem services even when local biodiversity is not declining. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.13874
The paper is lead by James Hagan, an ex MSc student from our department at VUB and Tropimundo alumnus. He’s enrolled at the University of Gothenburg under supervision of Lars Gamfeldt and co-supervised by Bram.
83. Hagan, J., Vanschoenwinkel, B. & Gamfeldt, L. (2021) We should not necessarily expect positive relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in observational field data. Ecology Letters (in press).