Gross et al. 2017

Functional trait diversity maximizes ecosystem multifunctionality

Nature Ecology and Evolution1: 01322017

Gross N.*, Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y.*, Liancourt P.*, Berdugo M., Gotelli N.J., Maestre F.T.

* indicates first co-authorship


Although a key hypothesis is that the diversity of functional traits determines ecosystem functioning, we do not know how much trait diversity is needed to maintain multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (multifunctionality). Here we developed a novel analytical framework to quantify general assembly rules in ecological systems – inspired from fields of researches studying complex systems such as physics, economy and geomorphology – to accurately relate functional trait diversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. This analytical framework allowed to uncover a global scale assembly rule (i.e. across a variety of environmental conditions and species pools) that quantifies how much trait diversity is needed to locally maximize multifunctionality.