Assessing the consequences of environmental impacts: variation in species responses has unpredictable functional effects

Fiona Murray (Corresponding Author), Stephen Widdicombe, C. Louise McNeill, Alexander Douglas

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6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many biological processes underpin ecosystem functioning and health. Determining changes in these processes following disturbance is crucial in assessing the wider impacts on ecosystem function and ultimately ecosystem services. Whilst the focus is often on whether disturbance drives changes in ecosystem function through mortality, sub-lethal effects on the physiology and behaviour of organisms may also have cascading effects on ecosystem processes, functions and services. This mesocosm study investigates the effects of a severe short-term exposure (8 days) to a simulated environmental impact—a leak of a subsea geological CO2 capture and storage (CCS) reservoir—on key biological processes (bioturbation), an ecosystem function (nutrient cycling) and on the functional group composition for seven common benthic invertebrate species. Here we statistically allocate species to functional effect groups based on their measured functional effect relative to other species. Following exposure, we observed behavioural responses driving changes in bioturbation for several species and altered nutrient cycling. Responses were species specific and resulted in shifts in functional effect group composition for some key nutrients (nitrate and silicate). We show that the allocation of species to functional groups by measuring specified ecosystem processes and functions can change following environmental perturbations. This implies that whilst biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are intricately linked, maintaining species identities and abundances after environmental perturbation is no guarantee to maintaining ecosystem functions, as species alter their rate and mode of activity following an environmental stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume583
Early online date16 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

environmental impact
ecosystems
ecosystem function
group effect
bioturbation
ecosystem
nutrient cycling
biological processes
functional group
biogeochemical cycles
perturbation
disturbance
effect
sublethal effect
sublethal effects
mesocosm
behavioral response
silicates
environmental stress
ecosystem service

Keywords

  • benthic invertebrates
  • bioturbation
  • carbon dioxide capture and storage
  • CCS
  • ecosystem function
  • functional diversity
  • functional groups
  • ocean acidification

Cite this

@article{27a97da4d1e446f696b78069eafaec74,
title = "Assessing the consequences of environmental impacts: variation in species responses has unpredictable functional effects",
abstract = "Many biological processes underpin ecosystem functioning and health. Determining changes in these processes following disturbance is crucial in assessing the wider impacts on ecosystem function and ultimately ecosystem services. Whilst the focus is often on whether disturbance drives changes in ecosystem function through mortality, sub-lethal effects on the physiology and behaviour of organisms may also have cascading effects on ecosystem processes, functions and services. This mesocosm study investigates the effects of a severe short-term exposure (8 days) to a simulated environmental impact—a leak of a subsea geological CO2 capture and storage (CCS) reservoir—on key biological processes (bioturbation), an ecosystem function (nutrient cycling) and on the functional group composition for seven common benthic invertebrate species. Here we statistically allocate species to functional effect groups based on their measured functional effect relative to other species. Following exposure, we observed behavioural responses driving changes in bioturbation for several species and altered nutrient cycling. Responses were species specific and resulted in shifts in functional effect group composition for some key nutrients (nitrate and silicate). We show that the allocation of species to functional groups by measuring specified ecosystem processes and functions can change following environmental perturbations. This implies that whilst biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are intricately linked, maintaining species identities and abundances after environmental perturbation is no guarantee to maintaining ecosystem functions, as species alter their rate and mode of activity following an environmental stress.",
keywords = "benthic invertebrates, bioturbation, carbon dioxide capture and storage, CCS, ecosystem function, functional diversity, functional groups, ocean acidification",
author = "Fiona Murray and Stephen Widdicombe and McNeill, {C. Louise} and Alexander Douglas",
note = "Acknowledgements. We thank Martin Solan, University of Southampton, for his advice during this study. We thank the crew of the MBA ‘Sepia’ for assistance in animal, sediment and seawater collection; Amanda Beesley and Malcolm Woodward for nutrient analysis; and the technical support staff at PML. We also thank Ken Cruickshank and Jenna McWilliam at the University of Aberdeen for bromide analysis. This study was funded by NERC studentship (NE/H524481/1) awarded to F.M.",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.3354/meps12358",
language = "English",
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pages = "35--47",
journal = "Marine Ecology Progress Series",
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AU - Murray, Fiona

AU - Widdicombe, Stephen

AU - McNeill, C. Louise

AU - Douglas, Alexander

N1 - Acknowledgements. We thank Martin Solan, University of Southampton, for his advice during this study. We thank the crew of the MBA ‘Sepia’ for assistance in animal, sediment and seawater collection; Amanda Beesley and Malcolm Woodward for nutrient analysis; and the technical support staff at PML. We also thank Ken Cruickshank and Jenna McWilliam at the University of Aberdeen for bromide analysis. This study was funded by NERC studentship (NE/H524481/1) awarded to F.M.

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Many biological processes underpin ecosystem functioning and health. Determining changes in these processes following disturbance is crucial in assessing the wider impacts on ecosystem function and ultimately ecosystem services. Whilst the focus is often on whether disturbance drives changes in ecosystem function through mortality, sub-lethal effects on the physiology and behaviour of organisms may also have cascading effects on ecosystem processes, functions and services. This mesocosm study investigates the effects of a severe short-term exposure (8 days) to a simulated environmental impact—a leak of a subsea geological CO2 capture and storage (CCS) reservoir—on key biological processes (bioturbation), an ecosystem function (nutrient cycling) and on the functional group composition for seven common benthic invertebrate species. Here we statistically allocate species to functional effect groups based on their measured functional effect relative to other species. Following exposure, we observed behavioural responses driving changes in bioturbation for several species and altered nutrient cycling. Responses were species specific and resulted in shifts in functional effect group composition for some key nutrients (nitrate and silicate). We show that the allocation of species to functional groups by measuring specified ecosystem processes and functions can change following environmental perturbations. This implies that whilst biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are intricately linked, maintaining species identities and abundances after environmental perturbation is no guarantee to maintaining ecosystem functions, as species alter their rate and mode of activity following an environmental stress.

AB - Many biological processes underpin ecosystem functioning and health. Determining changes in these processes following disturbance is crucial in assessing the wider impacts on ecosystem function and ultimately ecosystem services. Whilst the focus is often on whether disturbance drives changes in ecosystem function through mortality, sub-lethal effects on the physiology and behaviour of organisms may also have cascading effects on ecosystem processes, functions and services. This mesocosm study investigates the effects of a severe short-term exposure (8 days) to a simulated environmental impact—a leak of a subsea geological CO2 capture and storage (CCS) reservoir—on key biological processes (bioturbation), an ecosystem function (nutrient cycling) and on the functional group composition for seven common benthic invertebrate species. Here we statistically allocate species to functional effect groups based on their measured functional effect relative to other species. Following exposure, we observed behavioural responses driving changes in bioturbation for several species and altered nutrient cycling. Responses were species specific and resulted in shifts in functional effect group composition for some key nutrients (nitrate and silicate). We show that the allocation of species to functional groups by measuring specified ecosystem processes and functions can change following environmental perturbations. This implies that whilst biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are intricately linked, maintaining species identities and abundances after environmental perturbation is no guarantee to maintaining ecosystem functions, as species alter their rate and mode of activity following an environmental stress.

KW - benthic invertebrates

KW - bioturbation

KW - carbon dioxide capture and storage

KW - CCS

KW - ecosystem function

KW - functional diversity

KW - functional groups

KW - ocean acidification

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M3 - Article

VL - 583

SP - 35

EP - 47

JO - Marine Ecology Progress Series

JF - Marine Ecology Progress Series

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ER -