Violle, C., Thuiller, W., Mouquet, N., Munoz F., Kraft N.J.B., Cadotte M.W., Livingstone S.W., Grenie M., Mouillot D. (2017).

Trends in Ecology and Evolution,32,356-367, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.02.002

Key message : Rarity has been a central topic for conservation and evolutionary biologists aiming to determine the species characteristics that cause extinction risk. More recently, beyond the rarity of species, the rarity of functions or functional traits, called functional rarity, has gained momentum in helping to understand the impact of biodiversity decline on ecosystem functioning. However, a conceptual framework for deļ¬ning and quantifying functional rarity is still lacking. We introduce 12 different forms of functional rarity along gradients of species scarcity and trait distinctiveness. We then highlight the potential key role of functional rarity in the long-term and large-scale maintenance of ecosystem processes, as well as the necessary linkage between functional and evolutionary rarity.

Functional Rarity Types in Local Communities Are Assessed in Both Abundance and Trait Space by Combining the Classical View of Taxonomic Rarity and the Modern View of Trait Rarity. Using a 10- individual community of four species, we highlight different facets of functional rarity integrated into a single framework. The four species correspond to archetypal situations at the extremes of the abundance scarcity and functional distinctiveness gradients, species A being the ecological outlier (highest functional rarity value) in the community, while species C is the ecological norm (lowest functional rarity value).

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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