Global Biodiversity Change

Biodiversity is changing globally as a result of human activity. An increase in the rate of global extinctions is undisputed, yet trends in species richness at local scales are mixed. I seek to understand the variation in these trends: at what scales, for which species, and at what level of intensity or frequency does human activity lead to local biodiversity change? Furthermore, rapid turnover in species composition has the potential to impact ecosystem function as much as or more than species loss, but the topic has received much less attention. I am particularly interested in exploring the consequences of this turnover, and especially any associated changes in functional diversity, for the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide.

I am currently working to combine global datasets of plant species composition change from the forestREplot, BioTIME, International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) and other databases with plant trait data to explore shifts in functional composition and diversity over the past several decades. This work will focus on change in traits relevant to primary production, nutrient and water cycling, energy balance, and trophic interactions.

Relevant publications:

Chase, JM, BJ McGill, PL Thompson, LH Antão, AE Bates, SA Blowes, M Dornelas, A Gonzalez, AE Magurran, SR Supp, M Winter, AD Bjorkman, H Bruelheide, JEK Byrnes, JS Cabral, R Elahi, C Gomez, HM Guzman, F Isbell, IH Myers-Smith, HP Jones, J Hines, M Vellend, C Waldock, and M O’Connor. 2019. Species richness change across spatial scales. Oikos 128: 1079-1091. Editor’s choice. (open-access article)

Blowes, S, S Supp, L Antão, A Bates, H Bruelheide, J Chase, F Moyes, A Magurran, B McGill, I Myers-Smith, M Winter, AD Bjorkman, D Bowler, JEK Byrnes, A Gonzalez, J Hines, F Isbell, H Jones, LM Navarro, P Thompson, M Vellend, C Waldock, M Dornelas. Biodiversity trends are stronger in marine than terrestrial assemblages. In revision at Science. [bioRxiv preprint]

Daskalova, GN, IH Myers-Smith, AD Bjorkman, SA Blowes, SR Supp, A Magurran, and M Dornelas. Forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change. [bioRxiv preprint]

Bowler, DE, AD Bjorkman, L Navarro, A Niamir, C Waldock, M Dornelas, M O’Connor, SR Supp, K Böhning-Gaese, H Bruelheide, R Elahi, LH Antão, J Hines, F Isbell, HP Jones, A Magurran, J Sarmento Cabral, M Winter, M Vellend & AE Bates. Defining Anthropogenic Threat Complexes for Biodiversity Change Attribution. In revision at People and Nature. [bioRxiv preprint]