Functional diversity of marine megafauna in the Anthropocene

Type Article
Date 2020-04
Language English
Author(s) Pimiento C.1, 2, Leprieur F.3, 4, Silvestro D.5, 6, Lefcheck J. S.7, Albouy CamilleORCID8, Rasher D. B.9, Davis M.10, 11, Svenning J.-C.10, Griffin J. N.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Wallace Building, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.
2 : Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Box 2072, Balboa, Panama.
3 : MARBEC, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Montpellier, France.
4 : Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), Paris, France.
5 : Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg and Global Gothenburg Biodiversity Centre, 41319 Gothenburg, Sweden.
6 : Department of Computational Biology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland.
7 : Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, MarineGEO, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD 21037, USA.
8 : IFREMER, Unité Ecologie et Modèles pour l’Halieutique, Nantes Cedex 3, France.
9 : Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, 60 Bigelow Drive, East Boothbay, ME 04544, USA.
10 : Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World (BIOCHANGE) and Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Biology, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
11 : Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA.
Source Science Advances (2375-2548) (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)), 2020-04 , Vol. 6 , N. 16 , P. eaay7650 (13p.)
DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aay7650
WOS© Times Cited 92

Marine megafauna, the largest animals in the oceans, serve key roles in ecosystem functioning. Yet, one-third of these animals are at risk of extinction. To better understand the potential consequences of megafaunal loss, here we quantify their current functional diversity, predict future changes under different extinction scenarios, and introduce a new metric [functionally unique, specialized and endangered (FUSE)] that identifies threatened species of particular importance for functional diversity. Simulated extinction scenarios forecast marked declines in functional richness if current trajectories are maintained during the next century (11% globally; up to 24% regionally), with more marked reductions (48% globally; up to 70% at the poles) beyond random expectations if all threatened species eventually go extinct. Among the megafaunal groups, sharks will incur a disproportionate loss of functional richness. We identify top FUSE species and suggest a renewed focus on these species to preserve the ecosystem functions provided by marine megafauna.

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Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S7 Tables S1 to S3 References 25 1 MB Open access
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