The geography of biodiversity change in marine and terrestrial assemblages

Shane A. Blowes*, Sarah R. Supp*, Laura H. Antao, Amanda Bates, Helge Bruelheide, Jonathan M. Chase, Faye Helen Moyes, Anne Magurran, Brian McGill, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Marten Winter, Anne D. Bjorkman, Diana E. Bowler, Jarrett E. K. Byrnes, Andrew Gonzalez, Jes Hines, Forest Isbell, Holly P. Jones, Laetitia M. Navarro, Patrick L. ThompsonMark Vellend, Conor Waldock, Maria Dornelas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Human activities are fundamentally altering biodiversity. Projections of declines at the global scale are contrasted by highly variable trends at local scales, suggesting that biodiversity change may be spatially structured. Here, we examined spatial variation in species richness and composition change using more than 50,000 biodiversity time series from 239 studies and found clear geographic variation in biodiversity change. Rapid compositional change is prevalent, with marine biomes exceeding and terrestrial biomes trailing the overall trend. Assemblage richness is not changing on average, although locations exhibiting increasing and decreasing trends of up to about 20% per year were found in some marine studies. At local scales, widespread compositional reorganization is most often decoupled from richness change, and biodiversity change is strongest and most variable in the oceans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
Issue number6463
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019


  • Biodiversity
  • Geography
  • Anthropocene
  • Biodiversity change
  • Time series analysis
  • Species richness
  • Assemblage composition


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