University of Salento; Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali; National Interuniversity Consortium For Marine Sciences; Laboratory of Zoology and Marine Biology (LZMB), more, partner
1. Quantify stability at sites of naturally differing degrees of diversity under a range of levels of exposure to natural and anthropogenic disturbance.
2. Discriminate between effects on ecosystem function and stability of numbers of taxa or functional groups and their identities (while controlling for changes in overall density/biomass);
3. Test effects of loss of diversity at one trophic level on the functioning of others;
4. Quantify the main effects and interactions between intensity and temporal variance of disturbance on ecosystem function under different levels of biodiversity
5. Compare outcomes across systems and geographic regions to test the hypotheses that effects of loss of diversity/key species/functional groups vary depending on:
(a) the initial diversity of the system
(b) environmental conditions (salinity, substratum, nutrient levels, etc.)
Description of work
Task 1. Plans for integrated research. This includes the definition of clear, testable hypotheses on biodiversity-stability relationships to be targeted with a combination of analyses based on existing data sets, modeling and new experiments.
Task 2. Analysis of existing data sets. Analyses will be undertaken to investigate biodiversity-stability relationships at different scales in space and time on agreed response variables.
Task 3. Modelling based on available data.
Task 4. Experiments on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning and biodiversity-stability relationships, separating among effects of numbers, identities and abundances of species or morphological groups, including manipulations of diversity at different trophic levels and the separation of effects of intensity and temporal variance of disturbance.
Task 5. Integration of findings. Refinement of models with new empirical data; comparison of experimental results over broad geographic regions.
Task 6. Outreach. Development and maintenance of project website; production of position document for policy-makers and the general public.