Biodiversity and the stability of ecosystem functioning

John N. Griffin, Eoin J. O’Gorman, Mark C. Emmerson, Stuart R. Jenkins, Alexandra-Maria Klein, Michel Loreau and Amy Symstad

in Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547951
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720345 | DOI:
 Biodiversity and the stability of ecosystem functioning

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Concern that the rapid anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity may undermine the delivery of ecosystem services has prompted a synthesis of community and ecosystem ecology over the last decade. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research is central to this emerging synthesis, asking how biodiversity is related to the magnitude and stability of ecosystem processes. Isolating species richness effects from species composition has been a chief goal of BEF research. This BEF perspective recognized that fluctuating abundances of component species may not produce instability at the community or ecosystem level because compensatory reactions among species dampen fluctuations of aggregate abundance. Within the BEF framework, experiments and theory explicitly relating to the effect of species richness on community-level aggregate properties (mainly biomass) have focused on variability through time in relation to background environmental variation (temporal stability) as well as on the impact (resistance) and recovery (resilience) of such properties to discrete, and often extreme, perturbations. This chapter reviews recent empirical studies examining the links between species richness and these three facets of stability.

Keywords: anthropogenic erosion; biodiversity; ecosystem; biodiversity-ecosystem functioning; component species; compensatory reactions; experiments; theory

Chapter.  9676 words. 

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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