DOI: 10.1101/457424Oct 30, 2018Paper

Biodiversity trends are stronger in marine than terrestrial assemblages

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Shane BlowesMaria Dornelas


Human activities have fundamentally altered biodiversity. Extinction rates are elevated and model projections suggest drastic biodiversity declines. Yet, observed temporal trends in recent decades are highly variable, despite consistent change in species composition. Here, we uncover clear spatial patterns within this variation. We estimated trends in the richness and composition of assemblages in over 50,000 time-series, to provide the most comprehensive assessment of temporal change in biodiversity across the planet to date. The strongest, most consistent pattern shows compositional change dominated by species turnover, with marine taxa experiencing up to fourfold the variation in rates of change of terrestrial taxa. Richness change ranged from no change to richness gains or losses of ~10% per year, with tropical marine biomes experiencing the most extreme changes. Earth is undergoing a process of spatial reorganisation of species and, while few areas are unaffected, biodiversity change is consistently strongest in the oceans.

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