Disentangling Biodiversity Effects on Ecosystem Functioning: Deriving Solutions to a Seemingly Insurmountable Problem

Naeem, S. and J.P. Wright

Publication Date:

We review how functional traits, functional groups, and the relationship between functional and taxonomic diversity have been used in current BEF research. Several points emerged from our review. First, it is critical to distinguish between response and effect functional traits when quantifying or manipulating FD. Second, although it is widely done, using trophic position as a functional group designator does not fit the effect-response trait division needed in BEF research. Third, determining a general relationship between taxonomic and FD is neither necessary nor desirable in BEF research. Fourth, fundamental principles in community and biogeographical ecology that have been largely ignored in BEF research could serve to dramatically improve the scope and predictive capabilities of BEF research. We suggest that distinguishing between functional response traits and functional effect traits both in combinatorial manipulations of biodiversity and in descriptive studies of BEF could markedly improve the power of such studies. We construct a possible framework for predictive, broad- scale BEF research that requires integrating functional, community, biogeographical, and ecosystem ecology with taxonomy.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Ecology Letters