New publication - "Nestedness and turnover unveil inverse spatial patterns of compositional and functional β‐diversity at varying depth in marine benthos"

Published on Diversity and Distributions by dr. Stanislao Bevilacqua and prof. Antonio Terlizzi
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Aim: The two additive components of β-diversity, namely turnover and nestedness, reflect the two basic mechanisms underlying the overall change in species identi-ties across the landscape, the replacement of species or their loss, respectively. Analogously, functional turnover and nestedness express the replacement or loss of functional traits associated with variations in community composition. However, the extent to which patterns of compositional and functional nestedness and turnover may overlap, or diverge, is still uncertain in marine environments. Here, patterns of turnover and nestedness were quantified in marine benthic assemblages in order to assess their relative contribution to spatial patterns of compositional and functional -diversity.

Location: Mediterranean Sea, NE Ionian Sea, Ionian Archipelago.

Methods: In this study, we investigated patterns of dissimilarity in species and func-tional trait composition in subtidal macrobenthic assemblages from Mediterranean islands in order to quantify compositional and functional β-diversity among islands, determine the relative contributions of turnover and nestedness, and compare β-diversity patterns occurring in shallow and deeper reefs.

Results: We found a complex relationship between functional and compositional β-diversity at varying depth. At 5 m, species and functional trait dissimilarity largely overlapped, with turnover being the dominant component in both cases. At 15 m, compositional β-diversity was mostly due to turnover, with a negligible contribution of nestedness, whereas the opposite occurred for functional β-diversity. Partitioning β-diversity components revealed this discrepancy and the presence of functional hotspots, which would remain unnoticed analysing the overall compositional and functional β-diversity.

Main conclusions: Our findings may have profound implications for the optimiza-tion of conservation planning, stressing the need for assessing habitat-dependent idiosyncrasies in components of functional and compositional β-diversity for a more comprehensive picture of possible protection scenarios that, besides structure, may also allow preserving the functioning of marine communities.

Last update: 03-18-2020 - 10:01