Causal networks of phytoplankton diversity and biomass are modulated by environmental context

Chang, C-W, Miki, T, Ye, H, Souissi, S, Adrian, R, Anneville, O, Agasild, H, Ban, S, Be’eri-Shlevin, Y, Chiang, Y-R, Feuchtmayr, H, Gal, G, Ichise, S, Kagami, M, Kumagai, M, Liu, X, Matsuzaki, S-I S, Manca, MM, Nõges, P, Piscia, R, Rogora, M, Shiah, F-K, Thackeray, SJ, Widdicombe, CE, Wu, J-T, Zohary, T and Hsieh, C-h 2022 Causal networks of phytoplankton diversity and biomass are modulated by environmental context. Nature Communications, 13 (1).

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Untangling causal links and feedbacks among biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and environmental factors is challenging due to their complex and context-dependent interactions (e.g., a nutrient-dependent relationship between diversity and biomass). Consequently, studies that only consider separable, unidirectional effects can produce divergent conclusions and equivocal ecological implications. To address this complexity, we use empirical dynamic modeling to assemble causal networks for 19 natural aquatic ecosystems (N24◦~N58◦) and quantified strengths of feedbacks among phytoplankton diversity, phytoplankton biomass, and environmental factors. Through a cross-system comparison, we identify macroecological patterns; in more diverse, oligotrophic ecosystems, biodiversity effects are more important than environmental effects (nutrients and temperature) as drivers of biomass. Furthermore, feedback strengths vary with productivity. In warm, productive systems, strong nitrate mediated feedbacks usually prevail, whereas there are strong, phosphate-mediated feedbacks in cold, less productive systems. Our findings, based on recovered feedbacks, highlight the importance of a network view in future ecosystem management.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Single Centre NC - CLASS
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 06 Jun 2023 14:50
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 14:50

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