3 years ago

Decomposing multiple dimensions of stability in global change experiments

Helmut Hillebrand, Maren Striebel, Örjan Östman, Eva Lindström, Karen Lebret, Silke Langenheder
Ecological stability is the central framework to understand an ecosystem's ability to absorb or recover from environmental change. Recent modelling and conceptual work suggests that stability is a multidimensional construct comprising different response aspects. Using two freshwater mesocosm experiments as case studies, we show how the response to single perturbations can be decomposed in different stability aspects (resistance, resilience, recovery, temporal stability) for both ecosystem functions and community composition. We find that extended community recovery is tightly connected to a nearly complete recovery of the function (biomass production), whereas systems with incomplete recovery of the species composition ranged widely in their biomass compared to controls. Moreover, recovery was most complete when either resistance or resilience was high, the latter associated with low temporal stability around the recovery trend. In summary, no single aspect of stability was sufficient to reflect the overall stability of the system.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/ele.12867

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