Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Global Human Footprint on the Linkage between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Reef Fishes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nick Polunin, Dr Shaun Wilson

Downloads


Abstract

Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a non-saturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the world's coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Mora C, Aburto-Oropeza O, Bocos AA, Ayotte PM, Banks S, Bauman AG, Beger M, Bessudo S, Booth DJ, Brokovich E, Brooks A, Chabanet P, Cinner JE, Cortes J, Cruz-Motta JJ, Magana AC, DeMartini EE, Edgar GJ, Feary DA, Ferse SCA, Friedlander AM, Gaston KJ, Gough C, Graham NAJ, Green A, Guzman H, Hardt M, Kulbicki M, Letourneur Y, Perez AL, Loreau M, Loya Y, Martinez C, Mascarenas-Osorio I, Morove T, Nadon MO, Nakamura Y, Paredes G, Polunin NVC, Pratchett MS, Bonilla HR, Rivera F, Sala E, Sandin SA, Soler G, Stuart-Smith R, Tessier E, Tittensor DP, Tupper M, Usseglio P, Vigliola L, Wantiez L, Williams I, Wilson SK, Zapata FA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLOS Biology

Year: 2011

Volume: 9

Issue: 4

Print publication date: 01/04/2011

ISSN (print): 1544-9173

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Public Library of Science

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000606

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000606


Altmetrics

Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Actions

Find at Newcastle University icon    Link to this publication


Share