Fish communities diverge in species but converge in traits over three decades of warming

Mclean, Matthew, Mouillot, David, Lindegren, Martin, Villéger, Sébastien, Engelhard, Georg, Murgier, Juliette, and Auber, Arnaud (2019) Fish communities diverge in species but converge in traits over three decades of warming. Global Change Biology, 25 (11). pp. 3972-3984.

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Describing the spatial and temporal dynamics of communities is essential for understanding the impacts of global environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Trait-based approaches can provide better insight than species-based (i.e. taxonomic) approaches into community assembly and ecosystem functioning, but comparing species and trait dynamics may reveal important patterns for understanding community responses to environmental change. Here, we used a 33-year database of fish monitoring to compare the spatio-temporal dynamics of taxonomic and trait structure in North Sea fish communities. We found that the majority of variation in both taxonomic and trait structure was explained by a pronounced spatial gradient, with distinct communities in the southern and northern North Sea related to depth, sea surface temperature, salinity and bed shear stress. Both taxonomic and trait structure changed significantly over time; however taxonomically, communities in the south and north diverged towards different species, becoming more dissimilar over time, yet they converged towards the same traits regardless of species differences. In particular, communities shifted towards smaller, faster growing species with higher thermal preferences and pelagic water column position. Although taxonomic structure changed over time, its spatial distribution remained relatively stable, whereas in trait structure, the southern zone of the North Sea shifted northward and expanded, leading to homogenization. Our findings suggest that global environmental change, notably climate warming, will lead to convergence towards traits more adapted for novel environments regardless of species composition.

Item ID: 60422
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: biotic homogenization, climate change, community ecology, ecological traits, ecosystem functioning, fisheries, functional diversity, spatio-temporal dynamics
Copyright Information: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Funders: Région Hauts‐de‐France, VKR Center for Ocean Life, Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité (FRB), Électricité de France, Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer, Villum Fonden (VF)
Projects and Grants: FRB Grant Number: astre 2014‐10824, VF Grant Number: 13159
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 07:35
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410203 Ecosystem function @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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