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Ecological strategies shape the insurance potential of biodiversity.

Matias MG, Combe M, Barbera C, Mouquet N - Front Microbiol (2013)

Bottom Line: We present here a simple experimental study that illustrates how different ecological strategies (i.e., generalists vs. specialists) can shape the biodiversity-insurance relationship.We discuss our results in context with simple theoretical predictions and propose future directions for biological insurance theory.We argue that beyond species richness itself, it is essential to incorporate the distribution of ecological strategies across relevant environmental gradients as predictors of the insurance potential of biodiversity in natural ecosystems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2 5554, Université Montpellier 2 Montpellier cedex 05, France.

ABSTRACT
Biodiversity is thought to provide insurance for ecosystem functioning under heterogeneous environments; however, such insurance potential is under serious threat following unprecedented loss of biodiversity. One of the key mechanism underlying ecological insurance is that niche differentiation allows asynchronous responses to fluctuating environments, although the role of different ecological strategies (e.g., specialists vs. generalists) has yet to be formally evaluated. We present here a simple experimental study that illustrates how different ecological strategies (i.e., generalists vs. specialists) can shape the biodiversity-insurance relationship. We assembled microcosm of generalists and specialist bacteria over a gradient of salinity and found that, bacterial communities made up of generalists were more productive and more stable over time under environmental fluctuations. We discuss our results in context with simple theoretical predictions and propose future directions for biological insurance theory. We argue that beyond species richness itself, it is essential to incorporate the distribution of ecological strategies across relevant environmental gradients as predictors of the insurance potential of biodiversity in natural ecosystems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Trade-off curves between performance and specialization (i.e., niche width). The parameter niche width determines the ecological strategies of each species (generalists with high σ and specialists with low σ). The parameter θ varies the strength of the trade-off between weak and strong (also called respectively concave and convex) trade-offs (Gravel et al., 2011).
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FA1: Trade-off curves between performance and specialization (i.e., niche width). The parameter niche width determines the ecological strategies of each species (generalists with high σ and specialists with low σ). The parameter θ varies the strength of the trade-off between weak and strong (also called respectively concave and convex) trade-offs (Gravel et al., 2011).

Mentions: Hypothetical predictions of the role of ecological strategies (i.e., specialist vs. generalists) on the relationship between species richness, mean, and temporal variability of productivity under fluctuating environments. (A) Hypothetical niche curves across an environmental gradient for specialist (S, green lines; σ = 10), generalist (G; blue lines; σ = 40) or “super” generalist (SG; orange lines; σ = 40 and maximum productivity of 5; see “Appendix Methods: Model Description” for details). Predictions of (B) temporal mean productivity and its (C) coefficient of variation were the result of 100 independent simulations for each combination of these parameters. Details on the simulations are given in “Appendix Methods: Model Description” and in Appendix Figures A1–A3.


Ecological strategies shape the insurance potential of biodiversity.

Matias MG, Combe M, Barbera C, Mouquet N - Front Microbiol (2013)

Trade-off curves between performance and specialization (i.e., niche width). The parameter niche width determines the ecological strategies of each species (generalists with high σ and specialists with low σ). The parameter θ varies the strength of the trade-off between weak and strong (also called respectively concave and convex) trade-offs (Gravel et al., 2011).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3539934&req=5

FA1: Trade-off curves between performance and specialization (i.e., niche width). The parameter niche width determines the ecological strategies of each species (generalists with high σ and specialists with low σ). The parameter θ varies the strength of the trade-off between weak and strong (also called respectively concave and convex) trade-offs (Gravel et al., 2011).
Mentions: Hypothetical predictions of the role of ecological strategies (i.e., specialist vs. generalists) on the relationship between species richness, mean, and temporal variability of productivity under fluctuating environments. (A) Hypothetical niche curves across an environmental gradient for specialist (S, green lines; σ = 10), generalist (G; blue lines; σ = 40) or “super” generalist (SG; orange lines; σ = 40 and maximum productivity of 5; see “Appendix Methods: Model Description” for details). Predictions of (B) temporal mean productivity and its (C) coefficient of variation were the result of 100 independent simulations for each combination of these parameters. Details on the simulations are given in “Appendix Methods: Model Description” and in Appendix Figures A1–A3.

Bottom Line: We present here a simple experimental study that illustrates how different ecological strategies (i.e., generalists vs. specialists) can shape the biodiversity-insurance relationship.We discuss our results in context with simple theoretical predictions and propose future directions for biological insurance theory.We argue that beyond species richness itself, it is essential to incorporate the distribution of ecological strategies across relevant environmental gradients as predictors of the insurance potential of biodiversity in natural ecosystems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2 5554, Université Montpellier 2 Montpellier cedex 05, France.

ABSTRACT
Biodiversity is thought to provide insurance for ecosystem functioning under heterogeneous environments; however, such insurance potential is under serious threat following unprecedented loss of biodiversity. One of the key mechanism underlying ecological insurance is that niche differentiation allows asynchronous responses to fluctuating environments, although the role of different ecological strategies (e.g., specialists vs. generalists) has yet to be formally evaluated. We present here a simple experimental study that illustrates how different ecological strategies (i.e., generalists vs. specialists) can shape the biodiversity-insurance relationship. We assembled microcosm of generalists and specialist bacteria over a gradient of salinity and found that, bacterial communities made up of generalists were more productive and more stable over time under environmental fluctuations. We discuss our results in context with simple theoretical predictions and propose future directions for biological insurance theory. We argue that beyond species richness itself, it is essential to incorporate the distribution of ecological strategies across relevant environmental gradients as predictors of the insurance potential of biodiversity in natural ecosystems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus