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The role of biodiversity - Zurich Open Repository and Archive


Wilby, Andrew; Hector, Andy (2008). The role of biodiversity. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Abstract

Human activities have caused widespread loss of biodiversity raising concern about the potential impact on ecosystem processes (flows of energy and materials). A large body of recent research has shown that as species are lost from ecosystems there is, generally, a minor impact on ecosystem processes, but that this impact increases disproportionately as species diversity declines. Functional complementarity among species, due to variation in the ecological niches occupy, appears to be the main mechanism driving this pattern. Species diversity is also usually positively related to ecosystem stability i.e. their variation through time and the resistance and resilience to perturbation. These findings are already powerful arguments for the conservation of biodiversity, though current research aims to increase their relevance to the real world by including a more extensive range of ecosystems and processes, realistic food web structures, realistic (non-random) extinction scenarios and larger spatial scales.

Abstract

Human activities have caused widespread loss of biodiversity raising concern about the potential impact on ecosystem processes (flows of energy and materials). A large body of recent research has shown that as species are lost from ecosystems there is, generally, a minor impact on ecosystem processes, but that this impact increases disproportionately as species diversity declines. Functional complementarity among species, due to variation in the ecological niches occupy, appears to be the main mechanism driving this pattern. Species diversity is also usually positively related to ecosystem stability i.e. their variation through time and the resistance and resilience to perturbation. These findings are already powerful arguments for the conservation of biodiversity, though current research aims to increase their relevance to the real world by including a more extensive range of ecosystems and processes, realistic food web structures, realistic (non-random) extinction scenarios and larger spatial scales.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Scientific Publication in Electronic Form
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:19 Apr 2013 13:25
Last Modified:14 Aug 2017 15:06
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Additional Information:Published in eLS (formerly known as the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences).
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470015902.a0021228
Official URL:http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0021228.html

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