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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

Bacterial temporal mean productivity and temporal variability in relation to bacterial diversity. (A) Temporal mean productivity and (B) temporal variability (CV) of productivity in fluctuating environments: Each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms. Solid lines indicate specialists; and dashed lines indicate generalists. Dotted lines indicate ± standard error of the mean. Post-hoc Tukey HSD test to compare means of significant factors with levels of significance: *P < 0.05; ***P < 0.001; NS, P > 0.05.
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Figure 2: Bacterial temporal mean productivity and temporal variability in relation to bacterial diversity. (A) Temporal mean productivity and (B) temporal variability (CV) of productivity in fluctuating environments: Each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms. Solid lines indicate specialists; and dashed lines indicate generalists. Dotted lines indicate ± standard error of the mean. Post-hoc Tukey HSD test to compare means of significant factors with levels of significance: *P < 0.05; ***P < 0.001; NS, P > 0.05.

Mentions: Bacterial diversity had a significant positive effect on temporal mean productivity [Figure 2A; F(2, 522) = 51.27; P < 0.0001; Table 1], although the magnitude of effect was dependent on the strategies making up whether an assemblage was made up of specialists or generalists [Diversity × Strategy interaction: F(2, 522) = 5.52; P < 0.01]. In contrast, bacterial diversity had a significant and negative effect on the coefficient of variation for mean productivity [CV; Figure 2B; F(2, 522) = 12.02; P < 0.0001]. Assemblages made up of generalists were generally more productive [Figure 2A; F(1, 522) = 77.44.1; P < 0.0001], and significantly less variable over time [Figure 2B; F(1, 522) = 19.65; P < 0.0001]. Post-hoc comparisons showed that there were significant differences in temporal mean productivity between specialists and generalists in assemblages with 1 or 2 strains but no differences in mixtures with 4 strains (Tukey HSD test at P < 0.05; Figure 2A). The same pattern was found for CV with significant differences in 1 and 2 strain assemblages but not for the more diverse 4 strain assemblages (Figure 2B).


Ecological strategies shape the insurance potential of biodiversity.

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

Bacterial temporal mean productivity and temporal variability in relation to bacterial diversity. (A) Temporal mean productivity and (B) temporal variability (CV) of productivity in fluctuating environments: Each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms. Solid lines indicate specialists; and dashed lines indicate generalists. Dotted lines indicate ± standard error of the mean. Post-hoc Tukey HSD test to compare means of significant factors with levels of significance: *P < 0.05; ***P < 0.001; NS, P > 0.05.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: Bacterial temporal mean productivity and temporal variability in relation to bacterial diversity. (A) Temporal mean productivity and (B) temporal variability (CV) of productivity in fluctuating environments: Each symbol indicates the average of 12 microcosms. Solid lines indicate specialists; and dashed lines indicate generalists. Dotted lines indicate ± standard error of the mean. Post-hoc Tukey HSD test to compare means of significant factors with levels of significance: *P < 0.05; ***P < 0.001; NS, P > 0.05.
Mentions: Bacterial diversity had a significant positive effect on temporal mean productivity [Figure 2A; F(2, 522) = 51.27; P < 0.0001; Table 1], although the magnitude of effect was dependent on the strategies making up whether an assemblage was made up of specialists or generalists [Diversity × Strategy interaction: F(2, 522) = 5.52; P < 0.01]. In contrast, bacterial diversity had a significant and negative effect on the coefficient of variation for mean productivity [CV; Figure 2B; F(2, 522) = 12.02; P < 0.0001]. Assemblages made up of generalists were generally more productive [Figure 2A; F(1, 522) = 77.44.1; P < 0.0001], and significantly less variable over time [Figure 2B; F(1, 522) = 19.65; P < 0.0001]. Post-hoc comparisons showed that there were significant differences in temporal mean productivity between specialists and generalists in assemblages with 1 or 2 strains but no differences in mixtures with 4 strains (Tukey HSD test at P < 0.05; Figure 2A). The same pattern was found for CV with significant differences in 1 and 2 strain assemblages but not for the more diverse 4 strain assemblages (Figure 2B).

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