Functional Diversity and Ecosystem process: an empirical approach
Presenta: Rayanne Barros Setubal
Instituto de Biologia da UFRJ
Functional diversity is a way of measuring biodiversity that has progressively gained emphasis in ecological research in recent years. Functional diversity measures the diversity of functional traits, which are ecologically relevant species characteristics. For this reason, functional diversity presents a greater capacity of ecosystem process prediction in relation to the traditional biodiversity measures. This relationship among functional traits, community structure and ecosystem process is well known for some groups, such as plants, but little studied in aquatic environments. Despite the knowledge about the effects of anthropogenic disturbances, such as eutrophication and salinization, on environmental physical characteristics, little is known about how these impacts modify the communities functional structure and, consequently, ecosystem functions. Given the recognized ecological importance of zooplankton communities, measures of energy flow, such as secondary production and efficiency resource use provide important information for understanding the functioning of these environments and the processes and services they provide to mankind. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate how environmental changes influence the zooplankton community and ecosystem processes within a functional perspective. Our hypotheses are that disturbances (salinity and eutrophication) will decrease zooplankton functional diversity and thereby reduce rates of some ecosystem processes. However, this reduction will depend on the initial functional diversity of the community, with more diverse communities being more resilient to the disturbances.
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