Consequences of species loss for ecosystem functioning: Meta-analyses of data from biodiversity experiments

Bernhard Schmid, Patricia Balvanera, Bradley J. Cardinale, Jasmin Godbold, Andrea B. Pfisterer, David Raffaelli, Martin Solan, Diane S. Srivastava

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

98 Scopus citations


A large number of studies have now explicitly examined the relationship between species loss and ecosystem function. Analyzed by two independent groups, the results from such experiments show that reductions in species diversity generally result in reduced ecosystem functioning, across a wide range of ecosystems, diversity manipulations, and functions. This chapter analyzes both data sets in parallel to explain variation in the observed functional effects of biodiversity. This chapter concludes: 1) the functional effects of biodiversity differ among ecosystem types (but not between terrestrial and aquatic systems), 2) increases in species richness enhance community responses but negatively affect population responses, 3) stocks are more responsive than rates, 4) diversity reductions often reduce function at an adjacent trophic level, 5) increased biodiversity results in increased invasion resistance. This chapter also analyzes the shape of the relationship between biodiversity and function, and discuss consequences of different relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing
Subtitle of host publicationAn Ecological and Economic Perspective
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191720345
ISBN (Print)9780199547951
StatePublished - Jul 30 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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