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Secondary production increases with species richness but decreases with species evenness of benthic invertebrates

Citation

Clare, David; Culhane, Fiona; Robinson, Leonie (2022), Secondary production increases with species richness but decreases with species evenness of benthic invertebrates, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p2ngf1vs7

Abstract

Biodiversity is known to regulate ecosystem functioning under controlled experimental conditions. However, the ‘real-world’ consequences of biodiversity change remain uncertain, as biodiversity–ecosystem function (BEF) relationships observed in nature may be influenced by other drivers. Attempts to disentangle BEF relationships from the effects of confounding factors have so far focused mainly on primary producers, leaving relatively little known about the impact of changes in consumer diversity despite ecosystems experiencing species extirpations and introductions across trophic levels. Using data from 176 benthic invertebrate assemblages distributed throughout the North Sea, we studied how a fundamental ecological function – secondary production – varies in relation to two components of biodiversity – consumer species richness and evenness – while statistically controlling the effects of abiotic and biotic covariates. Production was enhanced as richness increased or evenness decreased. The relationship with evenness was attributable to its negative covariance with the abundance of small organisms; however, the relationship with richness could not be fully explained by other drivers. Our study reaffirms experimental findings about the functional importance of species richness and suggests that losing or gaining consumer species will affect secondary production over a broad range of biodiversity (20 to 118 species) in natural ecosystems.

Methods

This is the dataset analysed in the paper by Clare et al. 'Secondary production increases with species richness but decreases with species evenness of benthic invertebrates'. The data include the biodiversity (species richness and evenness) and secondary production of benthic invertebrate assemblages sampled throughout the North Sea during the summers of 2003 and 2004. Data on relevant abiotic and biotic covariates used in the analyses of Clare et al. are also included. A full description of the methods used to produce this dataset are provided in the paper.

Usage Notes

The R code used by Clare et al. to analyse this dataset is provided for inspection and re-use.