Stressor richness intensifies productivity loss but mitigates biodiversity loss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ecosystems are subject to a multitude of anthropogenic environmental changes. Experimental research in the field of multiple stressors has typically involved varying the number of stressors, here termed stressor richness, but without controlling for total stressor intensity. Mistaking stressor intensity effects for stressor richness effects can misinform management decisions when there is a trade-off between mitigating these two factors. We incorporate multiple stressors into three community models and show that, at a fixed total stressor intensity, increasing stressor richness aggravates joint stressor effects on ecosystem functioning, but reduces effects on species persistence and composition. In addition, stressor richness weakens the positive selection and negative complementarity effects on ecosystem function. We identify the among-species variation of stressor effects on traits as a key determinant of the resulting community-level stressor effects. Taken together, our results unravel the mechanisms linking multiple environmental changes to biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14977-14987
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • community ecology
  • ecosystems
  • multiple stressors
  • theoretical ecology
  • traits


Dive into the research topics of 'Stressor richness intensifies productivity loss but mitigates biodiversity loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this