Biodiversity, productivity, and the spatial insurance hypothesis revisited

Shanafelt DW, Dieckmann U, Jonas M, Franklin O, Loreau M, & Perrings C (2015). Biodiversity, productivity, and the spatial insurance hypothesis revisited. Journal of Theoretical Biology 380: 426-435. DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.06.017.

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Abstract

Accelerating rates of biodiversity loss have led ecologists to explore the effects of species richness on ecosystem functioning and the flow of ecosystem services. One explanation of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning lies in the spatial insurance hypothesis, which centers on the idea that productivity and stability increase with biodiversity in a temporally varying, spatially heterogeneous environment. However, there has been little work on the impact of dispersal where environmental risk are more or less spatially correlated, or where dispersal rates are variable. In this paper, we extend the original Loreau model to consider stochastic temporal variation in resource availability, which we refer to as "environmental risk", and heterogeneity in species dispersal rates. We find that asynchronies across communities and species provide community-level stabilizing effects on productivity, despite varying levels of species richness. Although intermediate dispersal rates play a role in mitigating risk, they are less effective in insuring productivity against global (metacommunity-level) than local (individual community-level) risks. These results are particularly interesting given the emergence of global sources of risk such as climate change or the closer integration of world markets. Our results offer deeper insights into the Loreau model and new perspectives on the effectiveness of spatial insurance in the face of environmental risks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dispersal; stability; stochasticity; risk
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Journal of Theoretical Biology; 380:426-435 (September 2015) (Published online 20 June 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:53
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 12:34
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11430

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