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The biggest losers: habitat isolation deconsructs complex food webs from top to bottom

  • Habitat fragmentation threatens global biodiversity. To date, there is only limited understanding of how the different aspects of habitat fragmentation (habitat loss, number of fragments and isolation) affect species diversity within complex ecological networks such as food webs. Here, we present a dynamic and spatially explicit food web model which integrates complex food web dynamics at the local scale and species-specific dispersal dynamics at the landscape scale, allowing us to study the interplay of local and spatial processes in metacommunities. We here explore how the number of habitat patches, i.e. the number of fragments, and an increase of habitat isolation affect the species diversity patterns of complex food webs (alpha-,beta-,gamma-, diversities). We specifically test whether there is a trophic dependency in the effect of these two factors on species diversity. In our model, habitat isolation is the main driver causing species loss and diversity decline. Our results emphasize that large-bodied consumer species at highHabitat fragmentation threatens global biodiversity. To date, there is only limited understanding of how the different aspects of habitat fragmentation (habitat loss, number of fragments and isolation) affect species diversity within complex ecological networks such as food webs. Here, we present a dynamic and spatially explicit food web model which integrates complex food web dynamics at the local scale and species-specific dispersal dynamics at the landscape scale, allowing us to study the interplay of local and spatial processes in metacommunities. We here explore how the number of habitat patches, i.e. the number of fragments, and an increase of habitat isolation affect the species diversity patterns of complex food webs (alpha-,beta-,gamma-, diversities). We specifically test whether there is a trophic dependency in the effect of these two factors on species diversity. In our model, habitat isolation is the main driver causing species loss and diversity decline. Our results emphasize that large-bodied consumer species at high trophic positions go extinct faster than smaller species at lower trophic levels, despite being superior dispersers that connect fragmented landscapes better. We attribute the loss of top species to a combined effect of higher biomass loss during dispersal with increasing habitat isolation in general, and the associated energy limitation in highly fragmented landscapes, preventing higher trophic levels to persist. To maintain trophic-complex and species-rich communities calls for effective conservation planning which considers the interdependence of trophic and spatial dynamics as well as the spatial context of a landscape and its energy availability.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author details:Remo RyserORCiD, Johanna HäusslerORCiD, Markus Stark, Ulrich Brose, Björn C. Rall, Christian GuillORCiD
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1177
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN:1471-2954
Pubmed ID:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=31362639
Parent title (English):Proceedings of the Royal Society of London : B, Biological sciences
Publisher:Royal Society
Place of publishing:London
Publication type:Article
Language:English
Date of first publication:2019/08/14
Year of completion:2019
Release date:2020/12/14
Tag:allometry; bioenergetic model; dispersal mortality; food webs; landscape structure; metacommunity dynamics
Volume:286
Issue:1908
Page number:8
Funding institution:German Research Foundation (DFG)German Research Foundation (DFG) [FOR 1748, RA 2339/2-2, BR 2315/16-2, GU 1645/1-1]; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig - German Research Foundation [FZT 118]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
DDC classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Peer review:Referiert
Publishing method:Open Access / Hybrid Open-Access
License (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International