OOS 43-7 - Linking biodiversity and ecosystem services across salinity and temperature gradients: A network approach

Thursday, August 10, 2017: 3:40 PM
Portland Blrm 258, Oregon Convention Center
Ute Jacob, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany and Anna C. Eklöf, Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

The Baltic Sea is a complex ecosystem providing a multitude of values and benefits to people. The Baltic Sea is under severe stress as a result of the combination of a large human population in the catchment area, and the environmental effects of anthropogenic activities. These stressors, together with current and future global changes, are a major threat jeopardizing the Baltic Sea’s ability to provide ecosystem goods and services. We already know how some single species are known providing multiple services arising from different traits - for example in the Baltic coastal habitats the structural species in the salt marshes provide shoreline protection, and may serve as a nursery for other species. Each of these services arises from different traits of the species. A deeper understanding of how services relate to traits and/or the functional diversity will allow for a much better understanding of the roles species have in ecosystem service provision. But scaling up from single species to entire communities is necessary and challenging: we must understand how ecosystem services emerging from the diversity of traits embedded in biodiversity drive the total service provision.


We will present the marine food web of the Baltic Sea including 3600 species and 17000 feeding integrating ecological network theory with trait-based interpretations of diversity and function to predict consequences of biodiversity loss on ecosystem services. We use functional traits, ecosystem services and network biology to formalise how ecosystem services and function arise from the complex Baltic communities. Including network perspectives allows us to develop a genuine understanding of the relationships that may contribute to the vulnerability of the Baltic Sea species that underpin provision of ecosystem services. Here we represent the possible consequences of species loss or gain for the provision of ecosystem services at the species level allows for reducing the risks of service losses and help designing efficient conservation plans constrained by the knowledge of which species directly or indirectly affect service delivery and the likelihood that species losses could trigger cascading extinctions by destabilizing the Baltic Sea ecosystems.