The contribution of intra- and interspecific tolerance variability to biodiversity changes along toxicity gradients

Frederik De Laender, Carlos J. Melian, Richard Bindler, Paul J. Van den Brink, Michiel Daam, Helene Roussel, Jonas Juselius, Dirk Verschuren, Colin R. Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The worldwide distribution of toxicants is an important yet understudied driver of biodiversity, and the mechanisms relating toxicity to diversity have not been adequately explored. Here, we present a community model integrating demography, dispersal and toxicant-induced effects on reproduction driven by intraspecific and interspecific variability in toxicity tolerance. We compare model predictions to 458 species abundance distributions (SADs) observed along concentration gradients of toxicants to show that the best predictions occur when intraspecific variability is five and ten times higher than interspecific variability. At high concentrations, lower settings of intraspecific variability resulted in predictions of community extinction that were not supported by the observed SADs. Subtle but significant species losses at low concentrations were predicted only when intraspecific variability dominated over interspecific variability. Our results propose intraspecific variability as a key driver for biodiversity sustenance in ecosystems challenged by environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date4 Nov 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Community ecology
  • Dispersal limitation
  • Metals
  • Model inference
  • Pesticides
  • Species abundance distributions

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The contribution of intra- and interspecific tolerance variability to biodiversity changes along toxicity gradients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this