skip to main content

Title: Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene
Abstract

Native biodiversity decline and non-native species spread are major features of the Anthropocene. Both processes can drive biotic homogenization by reducing trait and phylogenetic differences in species assemblages between regions, thus diminishing the regional distinctiveness of biotas and likely have negative impacts on key ecosystem functions. However, a global assessment of this phenomenon is lacking. Here, using a dataset of >200,000 plant species, we demonstrate widespread and temporal decreases in species and phylogenetic turnover across grain sizes and spatial extents. The extent of homogenization within major biomes is pronounced and is overwhelmingly explained by non-native species naturalizations. Asia and North America are major sources of non-native species; however, the species they export tend to be phylogenetically close to recipient floras. Australia, the Pacific and Europe, in contrast, contribute fewer species to the global pool of non-natives, but represent a disproportionate amount of phylogenetic diversity. The timeline of most naturalisations coincides with widespread human migration within the last ~500 years, and demonstrates the profound influence humans exert on regional biotas beyond changes in species richness.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2113424 2031928 1802209 2101884 1754584
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10383471
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
12
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Studies of the factors governing global patterns of biodiversity are key to predicting community responses to ongoing and future abiotic and biotic changes. Although most research has focused on present-day climate, a growing body of evidence indicates that modern ecological communities may be significantly shaped by paleoclimatic change and past anthropogenic factors. However, the generality of this pattern is unknown, as global analyses are lacking. Here we quantify the phylogenetic and functional trait structure of 515 tropical and subtropical large mammal communities and predict their structure from past and present climatic and anthropogenic factors. We find that the effects of Quaternary paleoclimatic change are strongest in the Afrotropics, with communities in the Indomalayan realm showing mixed effects of modern climate and paleoclimate. Malagasy communities are poorly predicted by any single factor, likely due to the atypical history of the island compared with continental regions. Neotropical communities are mainly codetermined by modern climate and prehistoric and historical human impacts. Overall, our results indicate that the factors governing tropical and subtropical mammalian biodiversity are complex, with the importance of past and present factors varying based on the divergent histories of the world’s biogeographic realms and their native biotas. Consideration of the evolutionarymore »and ecological legacies of both the recent and ancient past are key to understanding the forces shaping global patterns of present-day biodiversity and its response to ongoing and future abiotic and biotic changes in the 21st century.

    « less
  2. Urbanization has a homogenizing effect on biodiversity and leads to communities with fewer native species and lower conservation value. However, few studies have explored whether or how land management by urban residents can ameliorate the deleterious effects of this homogenization on species composition. We tested the effects of local (land management) and neighborhood-scale (impervious surface and tree canopy cover) features on breeding bird diversity in six US metropolitan areas that differ in regional species pools and climate. We used a Bayesian multiregion community model to assess differences in species richness, functional guild richness, community turnover, population vulnerability, and public interest in each bird community in six land management types: two natural area park types (separate and adjacent to residential areas), two yard types with conservation features (wildlife-certified and water conservation) and two lawn-dominated yard types (high- and low-fertilizer application), and surrounding neighborhood-scale features. Species richness was higher in yards compared with parks; however, parks supported communities with high conservation scores while yards supported species of high public interest. Bird communities in all land management types were composed of primarily native species. Within yard types, species richness was strongly and positively associated with neighborhood-scale tree canopy cover and negatively associated withmore »impervious surface. At a continental scale, community turnover between cities was lowest in yards and highest in parks. Within cities, however, turnover was lowest in high-fertilizer yards and highest in wildlife-certified yards and parks. Our results demonstrate that, across regions, preserving natural areas, minimizing impervious surfaces and increasing tree canopy are essential strategies to conserve regionally important species. However, yards, especially those managed for wildlife support diverse, heterogeneous bird communities with high public interest and potential to support species of conservation concern. Management approaches that include the preservation of protected parks, encourage wildlife-friendly yards and acknowledge how public interest in local birds can advance successful conservation in American residential landscapes.« less
  3. Brunton, Dianne (Ed.)
    Urbanization has a homogenizing effect on biodiversity and leads to communities with fewer native species and lower conservation value. However, few studies have explored whether or how land management by urban residents can ameliorate the deleterious effects of this homogenization on species composition. We tested the effects of local (land management) and neighborhood-scale (impervious surface and tree canopy cover) features on breeding bird diversity in six US metropolitan areas that differ in regional species pools and climate. We used a Bayesian multiregion community model to assess differences in species richness, functional guild richness, community turnover, population vulnerability, and public interest in each bird community in six land management types: two natural area park types (separate and adjacent to residential areas), two yard types with conservation features (wildlife-certified and water conservation) and two lawn-dominated yard types (high- and low-fertilizer application), and surrounding neighborhood-scale features. Species richness was higher in yards compared with parks; however, parks supported communities with high conservation scores while yards supported species of high public interest. Bird communities in all land management types were composed of primarily native species. Within yard types, species richness was strongly and positively associated with neighborhood-scale tree canopy cover and negatively associated withmore »impervious surface. At a continental scale, community turnover between cities was lowest in yards and highest in parks. Within cities, however, turnover was lowest in high-fertilizer yards and highest in wildlife-certified yards and parks. Our results demonstrate that, across regions, preserving natural areas, minimizing impervious surfaces and increasing tree canopy are essential strategies to conserve regionally important species. However, yards, especially those managed for wildlife support diverse, heterogeneous bird communities with high public interest and potential to support species of conservation concern. Management approaches that include the preservation of protected parks, encourage wildlife-friendly yards and acknowledge how public interest in local birds can advance successful conservation in American residential landscapes.« less
  4. Abstract

    The Ediacaran biota were soft-bodied organisms, many with enigmatic phylogenetic placement and ecology, living in marine environments between 574 and 539 million years ago. Some studies hypothesize a metazoan affinity and aerobic metabolism for these taxa, whereas others propose a fundamentally separate taxonomic grouping and a reliance on chemoautotrophy. To distinguish between these hypotheses and test the redox-sensitivity of Ediacaran organisms, here we present a high-resolution local and global redox dataset from carbonates that contain in situ Ediacaran fossils from Siberia. Cerium anomalies are consistently >1, indicating that local environments, where a diverse Ediacaran assemblage is preserved in situ as nodules and carbonaceous compressions, were pervasively anoxic. Additionally, δ238U values match other terminal Ediacaran sections, indicating widespread marine euxinia. These data suggest that some Ediacaran biotas were tolerant of at least intermittent anoxia, and thus had the capacity for a facultatively anaerobic lifestyle. Alternatively, these soft-bodied Ediacara organisms may have colonized the seafloor during brief oxygenation events not recorded by redox proxy data. Broad temporal correlations between carbon, sulfur, and uranium isotopes further highlight the dynamic redox landscape of Ediacaran-Cambrian evolutionary events.

  5. Abstract

    Cryptogenic species are those whose native and introduced ranges are unknown. The extent and long history of human migration rendered numerous species cryptogenic. Incomplete knowledge regarding the origin and native habitat of a species poses problems for conservation management and may confound ecological and evolutionary studies. The Lesser Antilles pose a particular challenge with regard to cryptogenic species because these islands have been anthropogenically connected since before recorded history. Here, we use population genetic and phylogeographic tools in an attempt to determine the origin ofEleutherodactylus johnstonei, a frog species with a potentially widespread introduced range and whose native range within the Lesser Antilles is unknown. Based on elevated estimates of genetic diversity and within-island geographic structure not present elsewhere in the range, we identify Montserrat as the native island ofE. johnstonei. We also document two major clades withinE. johnstonei, only one of which is the primary source of introduced populations throughout the Americas. Our results demonstrate the utility of genetic tools for resolving cryptogenic species problems and highlightE. johnstoneias a potential system for understanding differences in invasive potential among sister lineages.