Poisot T., Mouquet N. and Gravel D. (2013).

Ecology Letters, 16, 853-861, doi:10.1111/ele.12118

Key message : Here, we define the concept of trophic complementarity (TC), which emerges through exploitative and apparent competition processes, and study its contribution to ecosystem functioning. . Because networks encompass two key components of the BEF relationship (species richness and biomass flow), they provide a key to identify these drivers, assuming that we have a meaningful measure of functional complementarity. In a network, diversity can be defined by species richness, the number of trophic levels, but perhaps more importantly, the diversity of interactions. Using a model of trophic community dynamics, we show that TC predicts various measures of ecosystem functioning, and generate a range of testable predictions. We find that, in addition to the number of species, the structure of their interactions needs to be accounted for to predict ecosystem productivity.

Consequences of varying complementarity (as measured by qR and qP ) on transgressive overyielding (left) and productivity (right). Increasing the complementarity of both consumption and predation led to an increase in both transgressive overyielding and consumer productivity. However, while high complementarity in predation increases the intensity of transgressive overyielding, it decreases the productivity at equilibrium (for a fixed level of consumption complementarity). The lines (and colours) represent isoclines of productivity.

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OTHER TOPICS: Aesthetics of Biodiversity, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning, Biogeography, Macroecology & Ecophylogenetics, Experimental Evolution, Functional Biogeography, Functional Rarity, Metacommunities, Metaecosystems, Reviews and Synthesis, Trophic Biogeography & Metaweb