Exploring and Scaling up the Diversity-Stability and Diversity-Productivity Relationships using Fishery-Independent Monitoring Data
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Globally, biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. Decreased biodiversity is likely to result in decreased ecosystem services because high diversity systems may yield more biomass and are more stable over time due to both a positive diversity-productivity relationship (DPR) and a positive diversity-stability relationship (DSR). This makes biodiversity a particularly important variable to consider in commodity production landscapes such as fisheries. There has been recent theoretical progress on the spatial scaling of the DPR and DSR, however these models have not been tested using real data and therefore it is unclear how well they can be used to scale-up the DPR and DSR to scales that are relevant for managers. Data from a fisheries independent monitoring program spanning the southern portion of the US east coast was used to test these theoretical models at varying spatial scales. Species richness was the most important predictor for productivity (total biomass) and stability of biomass. Biomass and stability were both positively correlated with species richness at all spatial scales. The DPR exhibited a decelerating positive trend with increasing scale while the DSR exhibited an accelerating positive relationship with increasing scale. The use of DSR and DPR theory in the management realm requires the connection between entirely theoretical work and applied science with actionable outcomes. We offer one of the first examples of this theory being tested at scales relevant for managers and suggest that future research pursues the mechanistic underpinnings of these relationships that might bring about more concrete management actions.