Saturday, 29 April 2017

The relative importance of pollinator abundance and species richness for the temporal variance of pollination services.

2017 Apr 26. doi: 10.1002/ecy.1876. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, 08901.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, T2N 1N4.
Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis, California, USA, 95616.
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA, 94720.
Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117543.
Department of Entomology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3T 2N2.


The relationship between biodiversity and the stability of ecosystem function is a fundamental question in community ecology, and hundreds of experiments have shown a positive relationship between species richness and the stability of ecosystem function. However, these experiments have rarely accounted for common ecological patterns, most notably skewed species abundance distributions and non-random extinction risks, making it difficult to know whether experimental results can be scaled up to larger, less manipulated systems. In contrast with the prolific body of experimental research, few studies have examined how species richness affects the stability of ecosystem services at more realistic, landscape scales. The paucity of these studies is due in part to a lack of analytical methods that are suitable for the correlative structure of ecological data. A recently developed method, based on the Price equation from evolutionary biology, helps resolve this knowledge gap by partitioning the effect of biodiversity into three components: richness, composition, and abundance. Here, we build on previous work and present the first derivation of the Price equation suitable for analyzing temporal variance of ecosystem services. We applied our new derivation to understand the temporal variance of crop pollination services in two study systems (watermelon and blueberry) in the mid-Atlantic United States. In both systems-but especially in the watermelon system-the stronger driver of temporal variance of ecosystem services was fluctuations in the abundance of common bee species, which were present at nearly all sites regardless of species richness. In contrast, temporal variance of ecosystem services was less affected by differences in species richness, because lost and gained species were rare. Thus, the findings from our more realistic landscapes differ qualitatively from the findings of biodiversity-stability experiments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Price equation; abundance; biodiversity; composition; ecosystem services; richness; variance