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      Effects of human-modified landscapes on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic dimensions of bat biodiversity

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      Diversity and Distributions

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Functional diversity: back to basics and looking forward.

          Functional diversity is a component of biodiversity that generally concerns the range of things that organisms do in communities and ecosystems. Here, we review how functional diversity can explain and predict the impact of organisms on ecosystems and thereby provide a mechanistic link between the two. Critical points in developing predictive measures of functional diversity are the choice of functional traits with which organisms are distinguished, how the diversity of that trait information is summarized into a measure of functional diversity, and that the measures of functional diversity are validated through quantitative analyses and experimental tests. There is a vast amount of trait information available for plant species and a substantial amount for animals. Choosing which traits to include in a particular measure of functional diversity will depend on the specific aims of a particular study. Quantitative methods for choosing traits and for assigning weighting to traits are being developed, but need much more work before we can be confident about trait choice. The number of ways of measuring functional diversity is growing rapidly. We divide them into four main groups. The first, the number of functional groups or types, has significant problems and researchers are more frequently using measures that do not require species to be grouped. Of these, some measure diversity by summarizing distances between species in trait space, some by estimating the size of the dendrogram required to describe the difference, and some include information about species' abundances. We show some new and important differences between these, as well as what they indicate about the responses of assemblages to loss of individuals. There is good experimental and analytical evidence that functional diversity can provide a link between organisms and ecosystems but greater validation of measures is required. We suggest that non-significant results have a range of alternate explanations that do not necessarily contradict positive effects of functional diversity. Finally, we suggest areas for development of techniques used to measure functional diversity, highlight some exciting questions that are being addressed using ideas about functional diversity, and suggest some directions for novel research.
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            Rao's quadratic entropy as a measure of functional diversity based on multiple traits

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              Is Open Access

              Beyond the Fragmentation Threshold Hypothesis: Regime Shifts in Biodiversity Across Fragmented Landscapes

              Ecological systems are vulnerable to irreversible change when key system properties are pushed over thresholds, resulting in the loss of resilience and the precipitation of a regime shift. Perhaps the most important of such properties in human-modified landscapes is the total amount of remnant native vegetation. In a seminal study Andrén proposed the existence of a fragmentation threshold in the total amount of remnant vegetation, below which landscape-scale connectivity is eroded and local species richness and abundance become dependent on patch size. Despite the fact that species patch-area effects have been a mainstay of conservation science there has yet to be a robust empirical evaluation of this hypothesis. Here we present and test a new conceptual model describing the mechanisms and consequences of biodiversity change in fragmented landscapes, identifying the fragmentation threshold as a first step in a positive feedback mechanism that has the capacity to impair ecological resilience, and drive a regime shift in biodiversity. The model considers that local extinction risk is defined by patch size, and immigration rates by landscape vegetation cover, and that the recovery from local species losses depends upon the landscape species pool. Using a unique dataset on the distribution of non-volant small mammals across replicate landscapes in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, we found strong evidence for our model predictions - that patch-area effects are evident only at intermediate levels of total forest cover, where landscape diversity is still high and opportunities for enhancing biodiversity through local management are greatest. Furthermore, high levels of forest loss can push native biota through an extinction filter, and result in the abrupt, landscape-wide loss of forest-specialist taxa, ecological resilience and management effectiveness. The proposed model links hitherto distinct theoretical approaches within a single framework, providing a powerful tool for analysing the potential effectiveness of management interventions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diversity and Distributions
                Diversity Distrib.
                Wiley-Blackwell
                13669516
                May 2015
                May 2015
                : 21
                : 5
                : 523-533
                Article
                10.1111/ddi.12277
                © 2015
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/ddi.12277

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