Functional diversity of catch mitigates negative effects of temperature variability on fisheries yields

Laura E. Dee, Steve J. Miller, Lindsey E. Peavey, Darcy Bradley, Rebecca R. Gentry, Richard Startz, Steven D. Gaines, Sarah E. Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Temperature variation within a year can impact biological processes driving population abundances. The implications for the ecosystem services these populations provide, including food production from marine fisheries, are poorly understood. Whether and how temperature variability impacts fishery yields may depend on the number of harvested species and differences in their responses to varying temperatures. Drawing from previous theoretical and empirical studies, we predict that greater temperature variability within years will reduce yields, but harvesting a larger number of species, especially a more functionally diverse set, will decrease this impact. Using a global marine fisheries dataset, we find that within-year temperature variability reduces yields, but current levels of functional diversity (FD) of targeted species, measured using traits related to species’ responses to temperature, largely offset this effect. Globally, high FD of catch could avoid annual losses in yield of 6.8% relative to projections if FD were degraded to the lowest level observed in the data. By contrast, species richness in the catch and in the ecosystem did not provide a similar mitigating effect. This work provides novel empirical evidence that short-term temperature variability can negatively impact the provisioning of ecosystem services, but that FD can buffer these negative impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20161435
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1836
StatePublished - Aug 17 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Fisheries
  • Functional diversity
  • Temperature variability


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional diversity of catch mitigates negative effects of temperature variability on fisheries yields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this