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    Biodiversity and ecosystem function: making sense of numerous species interactions in multi‐species communities


    Brophy, Caroline and Dooley, Aine and Kirwan, Laura and Finn, John Anthony and McDonnell, Jack and Bell, Thomas and Cadotte, Marc W. and Connolly, John (2017) Biodiversity and ecosystem function: making sense of numerous species interactions in multi‐species communities. Ecology, 98 (7). pp. 1771-1778. ISSN 0012-9658

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    Abstract

    Understanding the biodiversity and ecosystem function relationship can be challenging in species‐rich ecosystems. Traditionally, species richness has been relied on heavily to explain changes in ecosystem function across diversity gradients. Diversity–Interactions models can test how ecosystem function is affected by species identity, species interactions, and evenness, in addition to richness. However, in a species‐rich system, there may be too many species interactions to allow estimation of each coefficient, and if all interaction coefficients are estimable, they may be devoid of any sensible biological meaning. Parsimonious descriptions using constraints among interaction coefficients have been developed but important variability may still remain unexplained. Here, we extend Diversity–Interactions models to describe the effects of diversity on ecosystem function using a combination of fixed coefficients and random effects. Our approach provides improved standard errors for testing fixed coefficients and incorporates lack‐of‐fit tests for diversity effects. We illustrate our methods using data from a grassland and a microbial experiment. Our framework considerably reduces the complexities associated with understanding how species interactions contribute to ecosystem function in species‐rich ecosystems.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This work was supported by the Science Foundation Ireland, Grant Number 09/RFP/EOB2546. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America. Cite as: Brophy, C. , Dooley, Á. , Kirwan, L. , Finn, J. A., McDonnell, J. , Bell, T. , Cadotte, M. W. and Connolly, J. (2017), Biodiversity and ecosystem function: making sense of numerous species interactions in multi‐species communities. Ecology, 98: 1771-1778. doi:10.1002/ecy.1872
    Keywords: biodiversity and ecosystem function relationship; community structure; Diversity–Interactions model; evenness; mixed model; random diversity effects; random effects; richness; species interactions; species rich; variability; variance components;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Hamilton Institute
    Item ID: 9968
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1872
    Depositing User: Dr. Caroline Brophy
    Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2018 15:47
    Journal or Publication Title: Ecology
    Publisher: Ecological Society of America
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
    URI:

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