Skip to Main Content
Size-dependent loss of aboveground animals differentially affects grassland ecosystem coupling and functionsAuthor(s): A. C. Risch; R. Ochoa-Hueso; W. H. van der Putten; J. K. Bump; M. D. Busse; B. Frey; D. J. Gwiazdowicz; D. S. Page-Dumroese; M. L. Vandegehuchte; S. Zimmermann; M. Schutz
Source: Nature Communications. 9: 3684.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Download Publication (2.0 MB)
DescriptionIncreasing evidence suggests that community-level responses to human-induced biodiversity loss start with a decrease of interactions among communities and between them and their abiotic environment. The structural and functional consequences of such interaction losses are poorly understood and have rarely been tested in real-world systems. Here, we analysed how 5 years of progressive, size-selective exclusion of large, medium, and small vertebrates and invertebrates - a realistic scenario of human-induced defaunation - impacts the strength of relationships between above- and belowground communities and their abiotic environment (hereafter ecosystem coupling) and how this relates to ecosystem functionality in grasslands. Exclusion of all vertebrates results in the greatest level of ecosystem coupling, while the additional loss of invertebrates leads to poorly coupled ecosystems. Consumer-driven changes in ecosystem functionality are positively related to changes in ecosystem coupling. Our results highlight the importance of invertebrate communities for maintaining ecological coupling and functioning in an increasingly defaunated world.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationRisch, A. C.; Ochoa-Hueso, R.; van der Putten, W. H.; Bump, J. K.; Busse, M. D.; Frey, B.; Gwiazdowicz, D. J.; Page-Dumroese, D. S.; Vandegehuchte, M. L.; Zimmermann, S.; Schutz, M. 2018. Size-dependent loss of aboveground animals differentially affects grassland ecosystem coupling and functions. Nature Communications. 9: 3684.
Keywordsbiodiversity loss, grassland ecosystem, ecological coupling and functioning
- Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago: The Sky Islands of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico
- Snag density varies with intensity of timber harvest and human access
- On the ecological role of salamanders
XML: View XML