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Functional redundancy patterns reveal non-random assembly rules in a species-rich marine assemblage.

Guillemot N, Kulbicki M, Chabanet P, Vigliola L - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: First, we found that the relationship between functional and species diversity displayed a non-asymptotic power-shaped curve, implying that rare functions and species mainly occur in highly diverse assemblages.Last, we found little effect of habitat on the shape of the functional-species diversity relationship and on the redundancy of functions, although habitat is known to largely determine assemblage characteristics such as species composition, biomass, and abundance.Our study shows that low functional redundancy is characteristic of this highly diverse fish assemblage, and, therefore, that even species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs may be vulnerable to the removal of a few keystone species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: UR-CoRéUs, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Noumea, New Caledonia. nicolas.guillemot@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
The relationship between species and the functional diversity of assemblages is fundamental in ecology because it contains key information on functional redundancy, and functionally redundant ecosystems are thought to be more resilient, resistant and stable. However, this relationship is poorly understood and undocumented for species-rich coastal marine ecosystems. Here, we used underwater visual censuses to examine the patterns of functional redundancy for one of the most diverse vertebrate assemblages, the coral reef fishes of New Caledonia, South Pacific. First, we found that the relationship between functional and species diversity displayed a non-asymptotic power-shaped curve, implying that rare functions and species mainly occur in highly diverse assemblages. Second, we showed that the distribution of species amongst possible functions was significantly different from a random distribution up to a threshold of ∼90 species/transect. Redundancy patterns for each function further revealed that some functions displayed fast rates of increase in redundancy at low species diversity, whereas others were only becoming redundant past a certain threshold. This suggested non-random assembly rules and the existence of some primordial functions that would need to be fulfilled in priority so that coral reef fish assemblages can gain a basic ecological structure. Last, we found little effect of habitat on the shape of the functional-species diversity relationship and on the redundancy of functions, although habitat is known to largely determine assemblage characteristics such as species composition, biomass, and abundance. Our study shows that low functional redundancy is characteristic of this highly diverse fish assemblage, and, therefore, that even species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs may be vulnerable to the removal of a few keystone species.

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Location of the transects surveyed near Koné, north-western coast of New Caledonia, South-West Pacific.Reef types (from [29]), mangroves and land are indicated.
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pone-0026735-g002: Location of the transects surveyed near Koné, north-western coast of New Caledonia, South-West Pacific.Reef types (from [29]), mangroves and land are indicated.

Mentions: The study site was located on the north-western coast of New Caledonia, South Pacific (Figure 2). Fish and habitats were surveyed along 152 transects randomly distributed on patch reefs and inner barrier reefs, between 2002 and 2004. The transects were 50 m long and covered shallow reef areas.


Functional redundancy patterns reveal non-random assembly rules in a species-rich marine assemblage.

Guillemot N, Kulbicki M, Chabanet P, Vigliola L - PLoS ONE (2011)

Location of the transects surveyed near Koné, north-western coast of New Caledonia, South-West Pacific.Reef types (from [29]), mangroves and land are indicated.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198825&req=5

pone-0026735-g002: Location of the transects surveyed near Koné, north-western coast of New Caledonia, South-West Pacific.Reef types (from [29]), mangroves and land are indicated.
Mentions: The study site was located on the north-western coast of New Caledonia, South Pacific (Figure 2). Fish and habitats were surveyed along 152 transects randomly distributed on patch reefs and inner barrier reefs, between 2002 and 2004. The transects were 50 m long and covered shallow reef areas.

Bottom Line: First, we found that the relationship between functional and species diversity displayed a non-asymptotic power-shaped curve, implying that rare functions and species mainly occur in highly diverse assemblages.Last, we found little effect of habitat on the shape of the functional-species diversity relationship and on the redundancy of functions, although habitat is known to largely determine assemblage characteristics such as species composition, biomass, and abundance.Our study shows that low functional redundancy is characteristic of this highly diverse fish assemblage, and, therefore, that even species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs may be vulnerable to the removal of a few keystone species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: UR-CoRéUs, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Noumea, New Caledonia. nicolas.guillemot@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
The relationship between species and the functional diversity of assemblages is fundamental in ecology because it contains key information on functional redundancy, and functionally redundant ecosystems are thought to be more resilient, resistant and stable. However, this relationship is poorly understood and undocumented for species-rich coastal marine ecosystems. Here, we used underwater visual censuses to examine the patterns of functional redundancy for one of the most diverse vertebrate assemblages, the coral reef fishes of New Caledonia, South Pacific. First, we found that the relationship between functional and species diversity displayed a non-asymptotic power-shaped curve, implying that rare functions and species mainly occur in highly diverse assemblages. Second, we showed that the distribution of species amongst possible functions was significantly different from a random distribution up to a threshold of ∼90 species/transect. Redundancy patterns for each function further revealed that some functions displayed fast rates of increase in redundancy at low species diversity, whereas others were only becoming redundant past a certain threshold. This suggested non-random assembly rules and the existence of some primordial functions that would need to be fulfilled in priority so that coral reef fish assemblages can gain a basic ecological structure. Last, we found little effect of habitat on the shape of the functional-species diversity relationship and on the redundancy of functions, although habitat is known to largely determine assemblage characteristics such as species composition, biomass, and abundance. Our study shows that low functional redundancy is characteristic of this highly diverse fish assemblage, and, therefore, that even species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs may be vulnerable to the removal of a few keystone species.

Show MeSH