Synthesis reveals approximately balanced biotic differentiation and homogenization

Shane A. Blowes*, Brian McGill, Viviana Brambilla, Cher F.Y. Chow, Thore Engel, Ada Fontrodona-Eslava, Inês S. Martins, Daniel McGlinn, Faye Moyes, Alban Sagouis, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Roel van Klink, Wu Bing Xu, Nicholas J. Gotelli, Anne Magurran, Maria Dornelas, Jonathan M. Chase

*Corresponding author for this work

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It is commonly thought that the biodiversity crisis includes widespread declines in the spatial variation of species composition, called biotic homogenization. Using a typology relating homogenization and differentiation to local and regional diversity changes, we synthesize patterns across 461 metacommunities surveyed for 10 to 91 years, and 64 species checklists (13 to 500+ years). Across all datasets, we found that no change was the most common outcome, but with many instances of homogenization and differentiation. A weak homogenizing trend of a 0.3% increase in species shared among communities/year on average was driven by increased numbers of widespread (high occupancy) species and strongly associated with checklist data that have longer durations and large spatial scales. At smaller spatial and temporal scales, we show that homogenization and differentiation can be driven by changes in the number and spatial distributions of both rare and common species. The multiscale perspective introduced here can help identify scale-dependent drivers underpinning biotic differentiation and homogenization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadj9395
Number of pages10
JournalScience Advances
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2024


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