Publication Details

Reference Category Journals
DOI / URL link
Title (Primary) Reintroducing environmental change drivers in biodiversity–ecosystem functioning research
Author De Laender, F.; Rohr, J.R.; Ashauer, R.; Baird, D.J.; Berger, U.; Eisenhauer, N.; Grimm, V.; Hommen, U.; Maltby, L.; Meliàn, C.J.; Pomati, F.; Roessink, I.; Radchuk, V.; van den Brink, P.J.;
Journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Year 2016
Department OESA; iDiv;
Volume 31
Issue 12
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T11;
Keywords biodiversity; richness; environmental change; traits; modeling; food webs; highlight
UFZ wide themes RU5;
Abstract For the past 20 years, research on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (B-EF) has only implicitly considered the underlying role of environmental change. We illustrate that explicitly reintroducing environmental change drivers in B-EF research is needed to predict the functioning of ecosystems facing changes in biodiversity. Next we show how this reintroduction improves experimental control over community composition and structure, which helps to provide mechanistic insight on how multiple aspects of biodiversity relate to function and how biodiversity and function relate in food webs. We also highlight challenges for the proposed reintroduction and suggest analyses and experiments to better understand how random biodiversity changes, as studied by classic approaches in B-EF research, contribute to the shifts in function that follow environmental ch


In the 1990s critiques on early biodiversity–ecosystem function (B-EF) research pushed the field towards direct and random biodiversity manipulations.

This evolution allowed the establishment of causal relationships between ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, a main research gap at that time.

A main research gap today is to predict and mechanistically understand shifts of ecosystem functioning following real-world biodiversity shifts caused by different types of environmental change.

Data from direct and random biodiversity manipulations do not predict the functioning of ecosystems that experience biodiversity shifts as these shifts are often nonrandom and combine with a series of other effects such as changes in per capita functioning and density.

Environmental change drivers are useful as they offer experimental control over: (i) the relative magnitude of the different facets of biodiversity change; and (ii) food web composition. These two features facilitate inference of the mechanisms connecting environmental change with ecosystem functioning.

ID 18022
Persistent UFZ Identifier
De Laender, F., Rohr, J.R., Ashauer, R., Baird, D.J., Berger, U., Eisenhauer, N., Grimm, V., Hommen, U., Maltby, L., Meliàn, C.J., Pomati, F., Roessink, I., Radchuk, V., van den Brink, P.J. (2016):
Reintroducing environmental change drivers in biodiversity–ecosystem functioning research
Trends Ecol. Evol. 31 (12), 905 - 915