PerspectiveEcology

Rapid reorganization of global biodiversity

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Science  18 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6463, pp. 308-309
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4520

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Summary

Twenty-five years of research on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function have revealed that biodiversity drives fundamental ecosystem processes and regulates their temporal and spatial stability (1, 2). Despite clear signs that human efforts have failed to halt global biodiversity loss (3, 4), it has been difficult to identify corresponding signs of global-loss trends in the context of local ecosystems (59). On page 339 of this issue, Blowes et al. (10) report their analysis of local biodiversity changes using a large dataset of >50,000 biodiversity time series from 239 studies. Each time series represents a record of species composition at a selected site over time, with sites representing all major ecosystem types and climatic zones. The authors demonstrate that the identities of species and their abundances are being rapidly reorganized.

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