Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss

Maria Dornelas*, Nicholas J Gotelli, Brian McGill, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Faye Moyes, Caya Sievers, Anne E Magurran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

620 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The extent to which biodiversity change in local assemblages contributes to global biodiversity loss is poorly understood. We analyzed 100 time series from biomes across Earth to ask how diversity within assemblages is changing through time. We quantified patterns of temporal α diversity, measured as change in local diversity, and temporal β diversity, measured as change in community composition. Contrary to our expectations, we did not detect systematic loss of α diversity. However, community composition changed systematically through time, in excess of predictions from null models. Heterogeneous rates of environmental change, species range shifts associated with climate change, and biotic homogenization may explain the different patterns of temporal α and β diversity. Monitoring and understanding change in species composition should be a conservation priority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-299
Number of pages4
Issue number6181
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2014


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