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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Relationships between biodiversity and the stability of marine ecosystems: Comparisons at a European scale using meta-analysis

Cusson, Mathieu; Crowe, Tasman P.; Araujo, Rita; Arenas, Francisco; Aspden, Rebbecca; Bulleri, Fabio; Davoult, Dominique; Dyson, Kirstie; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Herkuel, Kristjan; Hubas, Cedric; Jenkins, Stuart; Kotta, Jonne; Kraufvelin, Patrik; Migne, Aline; Molis, Markus; Mulholland, Olwyen; Noel, Laure M. -L. J.; Paterson, David M.; Saunders, James;
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The relationship between biodiversity and stability of marine benthic assemblages was investigated through meta-analyses using existing data sets (n = 28) covering various spatial (m-km) and temporal (1973-2006; ranging from 5 to >250 months) scales in different benthic habitats (emergent rock, rock pools and sedimentary habitats) over different European marine systems (North Atlantic and western Mediterranean). Stability was measured by a lower variability in time, and variability was estimated as temporal variance of species richness, total abundance (density or % cover) and community structure (using Bray-Curtis dissimilarities on species composition and abundance). Stability generally decreased with species richness. Temporal variability in species richness increased with the number of species at both quadrat (<1 m(2)) and site (similar to 100 m(2)) scales, while no relationship was observed by multivariate analyses. Positive relationships were also observed at the scale of site between temporal variability in species richness and variability in community structure with evenness estimates. This implies that the relationship between species richness or evenness and species richness variability is slightly positive and depends on the scale of observation. Thus, species richness does not stabilize temporal fluctuations in species number, rather species rich assemblages are those most likely to undergo the largest fluctuations in species numbers and abundance from time to time. Changes within community assemblages in terms of structure are, however, generally independent of biodiversity. Except for sedimentary and rock pool habitats, no relationship was observed between temporal variation of total abundances and diversity at either scale. Overall, our results emphasize that the relation between species richness and species-level measures of temporal variability depends on scale of measurements, type of habitats and the marine system (North Atlantic and Mediterranean) considered. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reseived.


Biodiversity Ecosystem Functioning; Temporal Variability; Diversity-Stability Relationships; Community Variability; Benthic Marine-Coastal Habitats

Published in

Journal of Sea Research
2015, volume: 98, pages: 5-14

Authors' information

Cusson, Mathieu
University College Dublin
Crowe, Tasman P
University College Dublin
Araújo, Rita
University of Porto
Arenas, Francisco
University of Porto
Aspden, Rebbecca
University of St Andrews
Bulleri, Fabio
University of Pisa
Davoult, Dominique
Sorbonne Université
Dyson, Kirstie
University of St Andrews
Fraschetti, Simonetta
Lecce University (University of Salento)
Herkül, Kristjan
University of Tartu
Hubas, Cedric
Sorbonne Université
Jenkins, Stuart R
Marine Biological Association
Kotta, Jonne
University of Tartu
Åbo Akademi University
Migné, Aline
Sorbonne Université
Molis, Markus
Alfred Wegener Institute
Mulholland, Olwyen
University College Dublin
Noël, Laure M-L
The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Paterson, David M
University of St Andrews
Saunders, James
University of St Andrews
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