Biotic homogenization destabilizes ecosystem functioning by decreasing spatial asynchrony

Shaopeng Wang, Michel Loreau, Claire de Mazancourt, Forest Isbell, Carl Beierkuhnlein, John Connolly, Douglas H. Deutschman, Jiří Doležal, Nico Eisenhauer, Andy Hector, Anke Jentsch, Jürgen Kreyling, Vojtech Lanta, Jan Lepš, H. Wayne Polley, Peter B. Reich, Jasper van Ruijven, Bernhard Schmid, David Tilman, Brian WilseyDylan Craven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our planet is facing significant changes of biodiversity across spatial scales. Although the negative effects of local biodiversity (α diversity) loss on ecosystem stability are well documented, the consequences of biodiversity changes at larger spatial scales, in particular biotic homogenization, that is, reduced species turnover across space (β diversity), remain poorly known. Using data from 39 grassland biodiversity experiments, we examine the effects of β diversity on the stability of simulated landscapes while controlling for potentially confounding biotic and abiotic factors. Our results show that higher β diversity generates more asynchronous dynamics among local communities and thereby contributes to the stability of ecosystem productivity at larger spatial scales. We further quantify the relative contributions of α and β diversity to ecosystem stability and find a relatively stronger effect of α diversity, possibly due to the limited spatial scale of our experiments. The stabilizing effects of both α and β diversity lead to a positive diversity–stability relationship at the landscape scale. Our findings demonstrate the destabilizing effect of biotic homogenization and suggest that biodiversity should be conserved at multiple spatial scales to maintain the stability of ecosystem functions and services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere03332
JournalEcology
Volume102
Issue number6
Early online dateMar 11 2021
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Shahid Naeem and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments, and Maowei Liang for help with Fig. 1 . This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31988102), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0503906), and the CAS Interdisciplinary Innovation Team (JCTD‐2018‐06), and is a product of the sTability group funded by sDiv ( www.idiv.de/stability ), the Synthesis Centre of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle‐Jena‐Leipzig (DFG FZT 118). The Jena experiment is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG; FOR 1451). The biodiversity experiments at Cedar Creek are funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Long‐Term Ecological Research (LTER; DEB‐1234162), Long‐Term Research in Environmental Biology (DEB‐1753859), Major Research Instrumentation (DBI‐1725683), and Ecosystem Sciences (NSF DEB‐1120064) Programs. The data set Hector_UK was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council Centre for Population Biology and National Science Foundation grants DEB‐0080754 and INT‐9725937. The Texas MEND study was funded by US‐NSF DEB‐0639417 and USDA‐NIFA‐2014‐67003‐22067. ML and CdM were supported by the TULIP Laboratory of Excellence (ANR‐10‐LABX‐41) and by the BIOSTASES Advanced Grant and the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 666971). FI acknowledges support from the LTER Network Communications Office (DEB‐1545288). JC was supported by the International Research Training Group TreeDì funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 319936945/GRK2324 and BS by the University Research Priority Program for Global Change and Biodiversity of the University of Zurich. SW, DC, and ML conceived research; CB, JC, JD, DHD, NE, AH, AJ, JK, VL, JL, HWP, PBR, JVR, DT, BW, and BS contributed data; SW, DC ML, CDM, and FI performed research and analyzed data; SW wrote the first draft; and all co‐authors contributed substantially to revisions.

Funding Information:
We thank Shahid Naeem and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments, and Maowei Liang for help with Fig.?1. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31988102), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0503906), and the CAS Interdisciplinary Innovation Team (JCTD-2018-06), and is a product of the sTability group funded by sDiv (www.idiv.de/stability), the Synthesis Centre of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig (DFG FZT 118). The Jena experiment is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG; FOR 1451). The biodiversity experiments at Cedar Creek are funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation?s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER; DEB-1234162), Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (DEB-1753859), Major Research Instrumentation (DBI-1725683), and Ecosystem Sciences (NSF DEB-1120064) Programs. The data set Hector_UK was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council Centre for Population Biology and National Science Foundation grants DEB-0080754 and INT-9725937. The Texas MEND study was funded by US-NSF DEB-0639417 and USDA-NIFA-2014-67003-22067. ML and CdM were supported by the TULIP Laboratory of Excellence (ANR-10-LABX-41) and by the BIOSTASES Advanced Grant and the European Research Council under the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 666971). FI acknowledges support from the LTER Network Communications Office (DEB-1545288). JC was supported by the International Research Training Group TreeD? funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 319936945/GRK2324 and BS by the University Research Priority Program for Global Change and Biodiversity of the University of Zurich. SW, DC, and ML conceived research; CB, JC, JD, DHD, NE, AH, AJ, JK, VL, JL, HWP, PBR, JVR, DT, BW, and BS contributed data; SW, DC ML, CDM, and FI performed research and analyzed data; SW wrote the first draft; and all co-authors contributed substantially to revisions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Ecological Society of America.

Keywords

  • biotic homogenization
  • grassland experiment
  • landscape
  • scale
  • spatial asynchrony
  • β diversity
  • γ diversity
  • γ stability

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