Multi-taxon inventory reveals highly consistent biodiversity responses to ecospace variation

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Amidst the global biodiversity crisis, identifying drivers of biodiversity variation remains a key challenge. Scientific consensus is limited to a few macroecological rules, such as species richness increasing with area, which provide limited guidance for conservation. In fact, few agreed ecological principles apply at the scale of sites or reserve management, partly because most community-level studies are restricted to single habitat types and species groups. We used the recently proposed ecospace framework and a comprehensive data set for aggregating environmental variation to predict multi-taxon diversity. We studied richness of plants, fungi, and arthropods in 130 sites representing the major terrestrial habitat types in Denmark. We found the abiotic environment (ecospace position) to be pivotal for the richness of primary producers (vascular plants, mosses, and lichens) and, more surprisingly, little support for ecospace continuity as a driver. A peak in richness at intermediate productivity adds new empirical evidence to a long-standing debate over biodiversity responses to productivity. Finally, we discovered a dominant and positive response of fungi and insect richness to organic matter accumulation and diversification (ecospace expansion). Two simple models of producer and consumer richness accounted for 77 % of the variation in multi-taxon species richness suggesting a significant potential for generalization beyond individual species responses. Our study widens the traditional conservation focus on vegetation and vertebrate populations unravelling the importance of diversification of carbon resources for diverse heterotrophs, such as fungi and insects.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftOikos
ISSN0030-1299
DOI
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2020

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