Trait structure and redundancy determine sensitivity to disturbance in marine fish communities

Type Article
Date 2019-10
Language English
Author(s) McLean Matthew1, 2, Auber ArnaudORCID1, Graham Nicholas A J3, Houk Peter4, Villéger Sébastien2, Violle Cyrille5, Thuiller Wilfried6, Wilson Shaun K.7, 8, Mouillot David2, 9
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER Unité Halieutique de Manche et mer du Nord 62321 Boulogne‐sur‐Mer, France
2 : MARBEC Université de Montpellier CNRS IFREMER IRD 34095 Montpellier Cedex, France
3 : Lancaster Environment Centre Lancaster University LancasterLA1 4YQ, UK
4 : UOG Station University of Guam Marine Laboratory Mangilao Guam 96923, USA
5 : Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE) Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 5175 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Université de Montpellier Université Paul‐Valéry Montpellier Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) Montpellier ,France
6 : Univ. Grenoble Alpes CNRS Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine (LECA) F‐38000 Grenoble, France
7 : Department of Parks and Wildlife Kensington, Perth Western Australia 6151, Australia
8 : Oceans Institute University of Western Australia Crawley Western Australia 6009, Australia
9 : Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies James Cook University Townsville QLD 4811, Australia
Source Global Change Biology (1354-1013) (Wiley), 2019-10 , Vol. 25 , N. 10 , P. 3424-3437
DOI 10.1111/gcb.14662
WOS© Times Cited 54
Keyword(s) climate change, coral reefs, diversity stability, ecological traits, ecosystem functioning, English Channel, functional diversity

‘Functional’ diversity is believed to influence ecosystem dynamics through links between organismal traits and ecosystem processes. Theory predicts that key traits and high trait redundancy – large species richness and abundance supporting the same traits – can buffer communities against environmental disturbances. While experiments and data from simple ecological systems lend support, large‐scale evidence from diverse, natural systems under major disturbance is lacking. Here, using long‐term data from both temperate (English Channel) and tropical (Seychelles Islands) fishes, we show that sensitivity to disturbance depends on communities’ initial trait structure and initial trait redundancy. In both ecosystems, we found that increasing dominance by climatically‐vulnerable traits rendered fish communities more sensitive to environmental change, while communities with higher trait redundancy were more resistant. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the influence of trait structure and redundancy on community sensitivity over large temporal and spatial scales in natural systems. Our results exemplify a consistent link between biological structure and community sensitivity that may be transferable across ecosystems and taxa and could help anticipate future disturbance impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

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McLean Matthew, Auber Arnaud, Graham Nicholas A J, Houk Peter, Villéger Sébastien, Violle Cyrille, Thuiller Wilfried, Wilson Shaun K., Mouillot David (2019). Trait structure and redundancy determine sensitivity to disturbance in marine fish communities. Global Change Biology, 25(10), 3424-3437. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :