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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

Reaction norms of generalist (white circles) and specialist (black circles) bacterial strains to different environments. Reported values indicate the change in optical density after 48 h (as a proxy of productivity) of each strain in monocultures at low- (3 g l−1) or high-salt (80 g l−1) environments (each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms; see “Methods” section).
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Figure 1: Reaction norms of generalist (white circles) and specialist (black circles) bacterial strains to different environments. Reported values indicate the change in optical density after 48 h (as a proxy of productivity) of each strain in monocultures at low- (3 g l−1) or high-salt (80 g l−1) environments (each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms; see “Methods” section).

Mentions: Depending on the costs associated with being a generalist, it is likely that assemblages of specialists or generalists have different performances across the range of environmental conditions encountered in a fluctuating environment (sensu Kassen, 2002). The magnitude of the insurance effect of biodiversity should therefore be determined by the distribution of strategies within an assemblage of species. We present here a simple experimental study to investigate the relationship between species richness and functioning (e.g., Bell et al., 2005) in communities made up of specialists or generalists with a different numbers of bacterial strains (i.e., 1, 2, or 4). We used bacterial strains, collected across a natural salinity gradient from fresh water to marine environments, to make up bacterial assemblages with different levels of richness for both generalist and specialist strategies over the salinity gradient (Figure 1). The insurance effects were determined by measuring temporal mean community productivity and its temporal variability under fluctuating environments by manipulating salinity in bacterial batch cultures.


Ecological strategies shape the insurance potential of biodiversity.

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

Reaction norms of generalist (white circles) and specialist (black circles) bacterial strains to different environments. Reported values indicate the change in optical density after 48 h (as a proxy of productivity) of each strain in monocultures at low- (3 g l−1) or high-salt (80 g l−1) environments (each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms; see “Methods” section).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 1: Reaction norms of generalist (white circles) and specialist (black circles) bacterial strains to different environments. Reported values indicate the change in optical density after 48 h (as a proxy of productivity) of each strain in monocultures at low- (3 g l−1) or high-salt (80 g l−1) environments (each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms; see “Methods” section).
Mentions: Depending on the costs associated with being a generalist, it is likely that assemblages of specialists or generalists have different performances across the range of environmental conditions encountered in a fluctuating environment (sensu Kassen, 2002). The magnitude of the insurance effect of biodiversity should therefore be determined by the distribution of strategies within an assemblage of species. We present here a simple experimental study to investigate the relationship between species richness and functioning (e.g., Bell et al., 2005) in communities made up of specialists or generalists with a different numbers of bacterial strains (i.e., 1, 2, or 4). We used bacterial strains, collected across a natural salinity gradient from fresh water to marine environments, to make up bacterial assemblages with different levels of richness for both generalist and specialist strategies over the salinity gradient (Figure 1). The insurance effects were determined by measuring temporal mean community productivity and its temporal variability under fluctuating environments by manipulating salinity in bacterial batch cultures.

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