OOS 10-9
Which components of plant diversity are most correlated with ecosystem properties? A case study in a restored wetland in northern China

Monday, August 10, 2015: 4:20 PM
342, Baltimore Convention Center
Yiran Zhang, Shenyang Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shenyang, China
Renqing Wang, Institute of Environmental Research, Shandong University, Jinan, China
David Kaplan, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jian Liu, Institute of Environmental Research, Shandong University, Jinan, China

The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services is a controversial hot topic in ecology for decades and the controversy may be due, at least in part, to the variety of methods used to quantify biodiversity and ecosystem services. Biodiversity has been generally measured using four primary components: dominance, richness, evenness and divergence, while ecosystem services fundamentally are products of ecosystem properties. From this point of view, would the relationship between diversity components and ecosystem properties be a fundamental and insightful understanding of the “biodiversity/ecosystem services” debate?

This study examined the relationship between plant diversity and 11 ecosystem properties of a restored wetland in northern China by considering the four primary components of diversity. The four components were measured by various taxonomic and functional diversity indices respectively. Dominance was expressed by mean trait value index (MTV), richness was expressed by species richness (S) and functional group richness (F), evenness was expressed by Pielou’s evenness (J) and functional regularity (FRO), and divergence was expressed by Shannon’s diversity (H’), Simpson’s diversity (D) and functional divergence (FD).


Results showed that trait-based functional diversity had a stronger correlation with ecosystem processes than non-trait taxonomic diversity did. Among the four components of diversity, dominance (in terms of mean trait value index) was the best in explaining the variation in ecosystem properties. This indicates that ecosystem properties are mainly related to particular species traits of dominant species. Thus, the selection effect might be the dominant ecological mechanism during the wetland restoration process. Richness and divergence also had significant correlations with ecosystem properties in some instances, which indicates that complementarity effects do exist and may partly influence ecosystem properties. By contrast, evenness had no significant correlation with most of the studied ecosystem properties. Our results indicate that wetland ecosystem properties are significantly related to certain traits of the dominant species. Thus, the dominant species and functional traits should be considered over species number in managing diversity and enhancing certain ecosystem functions of wetlands, especially in the restoration case.

We believe that the aspect of the four primary components of plant diversity provides insight into the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and might serve as an important reference for the restoration and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services.