A simple framework for the exploration of functional biodiversity

Froese R., Coro G., Palomares M.L.D., Bailly N., Scotti M., Froese T., Garilao C., Pauly D.

Published date: July 2023
Volume: 47
Number: 3
Pagination: 271-286
doi: https://doi.org/10.26028/cybium/2023-003

Corresponding author: Rainer Froese, rfroese@geomar.de

How to cite: Froese, R., Coro, G., Palomares, M. L. D., Bailly, N., Scotti, M., Froese, T., Garilao, C., & Pauly, D. (2023). A simple framework for the exploration of functional biodiversity. Cybium, 47(3): 271-286. https://doi.org/10.26028/CYBIUM/2023-003


Key traits of functional biodiversity are examined for 31,134 species of fishes. These traits are maximum body weight, productivity, and trophic level. A new, simple framework is presented that shows the combined usage of these traits, in ordinal categories, for close to 90% of extant species of fishes. Most species are clustered tightly along an evolutionary axis in size-productivity-trophic space (SPT-space) from few large, evolutionary old species with very low productivity to many medium-sized newly evolved species with high productivity, superseding Cope’s rule of a within-lineages trend towards larger size and lower productivity. The across-lineages evolutionary axis is also found in the subsets of marine, freshwater, and Arctic species. Another notable prediction is the five-fold increase in top predators in Arctic waters in 2100, which could cause the extinction of endemic species. The main purpose of this study is to demonstrate the usefulness of the SPT-framework for comparing functional biodiversity patterns in ecosystems by salinity, geography or time. Also, the SPT-framework was used to explore correlations with other traits such as body shape, and to display the position of individual species, represented by pictograms of body shape and habitat, within SPT-space.

Keywords: Evolutionary age - form factor - Functional biodiversity - Productivity - Trophic level
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