Unexpected high vulnerability of functions in wilderness areas: evidence from coral reef fishes

D'agata, Stéphanie, Vigliola, Laurent, Graham, Nicholas A.J., Wantiez, Laurent, Parravicini, Valeriano, Villéger, Sébastien, Mou-Tham, Gerard, Frolla, Philippe, Friedlander, Alan M., Kulbicki, Michel, and Mouillot, David (2016) Unexpected high vulnerability of functions in wilderness areas: evidence from coral reef fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 283 (1844). pp. 1-10.

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Abstract

High species richness is thought to support the delivery of multiple ecosystem functions and services under changing environments. Yet, some species might performunique functional roles while others are redundant. Thus, the benefits of high species richness in maintaining ecosystem functioning are uncertain if functions have little redundancy, potentially leading to high vulnerability of functions. We studied the natural propensity of assemblages to be functionally buffered against loss prior to fishing activities, using functional trait combinations, in coral reef fish assemblages across unfished wilderness areas of the Indo-Pacific: Chagos Archipelago, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Fish functional diversity in these wilderness areas is highly vulnerable to fishing, explained by species-and abundance-based redundancy packed into a small combination of traits, leaving most other trait combinations (60%) sensitive to fishing, with no redundancy. Functional vulnerability peaks for mobile and sedentary top predators, and large species in general. Functional vulnerability decreases for certain functional entities in New Caledonia, where overall functional redundancy was higher. Uncovering these baseline patterns of functional vulnerability can offer early warning signals of the damaging effects from fishing, and may serve as baselines to guide precautionary and even proactive conservation actions.

Item ID: 47116
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral reef fish, wilderness areas, redundancy, baseline functional vulnerability
Additional Information:

Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

ISSN: 0962-8452
Funders: Total Foundation (TF), French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB), Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (FISHECO), Australian Research Council (ARC), Royal Society
Projects and Grants: TF Pristine Reefs project, FISHECO agreement number IOF-GA-2009-236316
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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