Human-Mediated Loss of Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity in Coral Reef Fishes

Type Article
Date 2014-03
Language English
Author(s) D'Agata StephanieORCID1, 2, Mouillot David2, Kulbicki MichelORCID3, Andrefouet Serge1, Bellwood David R.4, 5, Cinner Joshua E.5, Cowman Peter F.4, 6, Kronen Mecki7, Pinca Silvia7, Vigliola LaurentORCID1, 7
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst Rech Dev, Lab Excellence LABEX CORAIL, UR 227, CoReUs, Noumea 98848, New Caledonia.
2 : Univ Montpellier 2, ECOSYM, UMR CNRS UM2 5119, F-34095 Montpellier, France.
3 : Inst Rech Dev, Lab Excellence LABEX CORAIL, UR 227, CoReUs, F-66651 Banyuls Sur Mer, France.
4 : James Cook Univ, Sch Marine & Trop Biol, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.
5 : James Cook Univ, Australian Res Council, Ctr Excellence Coral Reef Studies, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.
6 : Australian Natl Univ, Res Sch Biol, Macroevolut & Macroecol Grp, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
7 : Pacific Community, Noumea 98848, New Caledonia.
Source Current Biology (0960-9822) (Cell Press), 2014-03 , Vol. 24 , N. 5 , P. 555-560
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.049
WOS© Times Cited 118
Abstract Beyond the loss of species richness [1-3], human activities may also deplete the breadth of evolutionary history (phylogenetic diversity) and the diversity of roles (functional diversity) carried out by species within communities, two overlooked components of biodiversity. Both are, however, essential to sustain ecosystem functioning and the associated provision of ecosystem services, particularly under fluctuating environmental conditions [1-7]. We quantified the effect of human activities on the taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity of fish communities in coral reefs, while teasing apart the influence of biogeography and habitat along a gradient of human pressure across the Pacific Ocean. We detected nonlinear relationships with significant breaking points in the impact of human population density on phylogenetic and functional diversity of parrot-fishes, at 25 and 15 inhabitants/km(2), respectively, while parrot-fish species richness decreased linearly along the same population gradient. Over the whole range, species richness decreased by 11.7%, while phylogenetic and functional diversity dropped by 35.8% and 46.6%, respectively. Our results call for caution when using species richness as a benchmark for measuring the status of ecosystems since it appears to be less responsive to variation in human population densities than its phylogenetic and functional counterparts, potentially imperiling the functioning of coral reef ecosystems.
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D'Agata Stephanie, Mouillot David, Kulbicki Michel, Andrefouet Serge, Bellwood David R., Cinner Joshua E., Cowman Peter F., Kronen Mecki, Pinca Silvia, Vigliola Laurent (2014). Human-Mediated Loss of Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity in Coral Reef Fishes. Current Biology, 24(5), 555-560. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :