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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

We are currently in the midst of one of the greatest waves of species extinction that has ever occurred on Earth. But even as rates of species loss are approaching those of prior mass extinctions, we know little about the different roles that species play in ecosystems, and we have almost no idea how the well-being of our own species is linked to the great variety of life that inhabits our planet. The goal of our working group is to improve our understanding of the consequences of species extinction for humanity. We will summarize the results of more than two decades of ecological experiments that have examined how the diversity of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals influence biological processes that are essential to the existence of life. Using these data, we will: 1) Develop statistical models that estimate how many species must be conserved to maintain essential biological processes in natural ecosystems 2) Quantify trade-offs in how biodiversity impacts different biological processes so that we can make informed decisions about how to maximize the ‘multi-functionality’ of diverse systems 3) Assess how biodiversity affects selected services that natural ecosystems provide to society, such as plant uptake of greenhouse gases like CO2 from the atmosphere Our work is timely, as the United Nations General Assembly has named 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. Our results will help aid international efforts to conserve and manage species and their natural habitats in a period of unprecedented environmental change.
Working Group Participants

Principal Investigator(s)

Bradley J. Cardinale, J. Emmett Duffy, Dave U. Hooper

Project Dates

Start: August 9, 2010

End: October 14, 2011



Elizabeth C. Adair
University of California, Santa Barbara
Patricia Balvanera
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Morelia
Jarrett E. Byrnes
University of California, Santa Barbara
Bradley J. Cardinale
University of Michigan
Laura E. Dee
University of California, Santa Barbara
J. Emmett Duffy
College of William and Mary
Lars Gamfeldt
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Andrew Gonzalez
McGill University
Michael Goulden
University of California, Irvine
John N. Griffin
University of Florida
Andrew Hector
University of Zurich
Dave U. Hooper
Western Washington University
Bruce A. Hungate
Northern Arizona University
Forest Isbell
University of Minnesota
Jonathan S. Lefcheck
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Kristin L. Matulich
University of California, Irvine
Christian Messier
Université du Québec, Montreal
Mary I. O'Connor
University of California, Santa Barbara
Alain Paquette
Université du Québec, Montreal
Daniel Piotto
Yale University


  1. Journal Article / 2018

    Ecosystem context illuminates conflicting roles of plant diversity in carbon storage

  2. Journal Article / 2013

    Linking biodiversity and ecosystem services: Current uncertainties and the necessary next steps

  3. Journal Article / 2014

    Investigating the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: Challenges and solutions

  4. Presentations / 2011

    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

  5. Presentations / 2011

    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

  6. Presentations / 2011

    Biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems: The evolution of, and vision for, a paradigm

  7. Journal Article / 2011

    The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems

  8. Presentations / 2012

    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

  9. Presentations / 2012

    Biodiversity, extinction, and their impacts on humanity

  10. Journal Article / 2012

    Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity

  11. Presentations / 2012

    What is biodiversity's role in providing ecosystem goods and services? A data synthesis

  12. Presentations / 2012

    Will species extinction alter the function of Earth's freshwater ecosystems?

  13. Journal Article / 2013

    Biodiversity simultaneously enhances the production and stability of community biomass, but the effects are independent

  14. Presentations / 2011

    The role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning: Translating results from model experiments into functional reality

  15. Presentations / 2011

    The role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning: Translating results from model experiments into functional reality

  16. Presentations / 2011

    Marine species richness and ecosystem functioning - A meta-analysis

  17. Journal Article / 2015

    Marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: What's known and what's next?

  18. Presentations / 2012

    Biodiversity loss is real and it matters

  19. Presentations / 2012

    Biodiversity science for global environmental change

  20. Data Set / 2013

    Data set for Griffen et al. 2013 Effects of predator richness on prey Suppression: A meta-analysis

  21. Journal Article / 2013

    Effects of predator richness on prey suppression: A meta-analysis

  22. Journal Article / 2014

    Species richness and the temporal stability of biomass production: An analysis of recent biodiversity experiments

  23. Presentations / 2011

    Do the effects of species richness on ecosystem function rival other forms of environmental change?

  24. Journal Article / 2012

    A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change

  25. Data Set / 2012

    Data and analyses for Hooper et al. (2012) Nature, "A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change", DOI: 10.1038/nature11118

  26. Presentations / 2012

    Biodiversity effects on provision of multiple ecosystem functions in marine systems: A meta-analysis

  27. Journal Article / 2015

    Biodiversity enhances ecosystem multifunctionality across trophic levels and habitats

  28. Journal Article / in press

    A general biodiversity-function relationship is mediated by trophic level

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