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Old 10-12-2017, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default Beyond basic biodiversity ...

As scientists gather more information on how species interconnect species they begin to recognize those species necessary to continuing function of other species and sustaining of the ecosystem.

Beyond Biodiversity: A New Way of Looking at How Species Interconnect - Yale E360

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Now, a half-century later, researchers are taking the study of traits much farther, with some scientists concluding that understanding the function of species can tell us more about ecosystems than knowing which species are present — a concept known as functional diversity. This idea is not merely academic, as scientists say that understanding functional diversity can play an important role in shaping conservation programs to enhance biodiversity and preserve or restore ecosystems.

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“Say you have two habitats with 10 different species in each,” explains Marc Cadotte, a professor of Urban Forest Conservation and Biology at the University of Toronto. “Yet, they might not be comparable at all if in one of those habitats eight of those 10 species are similar and redundant, while in the other habitat, all 10 species are unique from one other. We need alternative measures for biodiversity that tell us something about the niche differences, trait differences, how species are interacting, and how they are using resources. Functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity are meant to capture that.”
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Phylogenetic diversity refers to species that have few or no close relatives and that are very different from other species, which may mean that they can contribute in very different ways to an ecosystem. Protecting phylogenetic diversity, then, is part of protecting important functions. The distinctive pearl bubble coral is one example, as it provides shelter to shrimp, an important food for the highly endangered hawksbill turtle.

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“When I tell someone, ‘This species has been around for 2.6 million years,’ that’s very esoteric in a way,” says Lefcheck. “But if I can say, ‘This large-bodied species produces a lot of biomass, and it can crop down invasive algae, and it plays a high-functioning and critical role in the ecosystem,’ you might want to protect species that have that trait.”
Such is the case with parrotfish and surgeonfish — “reef-grazers” that eat algae and keep coral reefs healthy. Because of these key traits, the government of Belize has enacted a law to protect these two species.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:27 AM   #2
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Thank you for all of the quotes...they will either pull me into read the whole article or give me the gist without reading it all.
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