Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 72-84.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015170


• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

A review on the measurement of ecosystem multifunctionality

Wei Xu1, Xin Jing1, Zhiyuan Ma1, Jin-Sheng He1, 2, *()   

  1. 1 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    2 Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008
  • Received:2015-06-17 Accepted:2015-10-16 Online:2016-06-12
  • He Jin-Sheng

The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality (BEMF) is a hot issue in current ecological studies. The measurement of ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF) is a crucial aspect of BEMF research; however, the metrics of EMF have been inconsistent among previous studies. We reviewed seven approaches of quantifying EMF (single function approach, turnover approach, averaging approach, single threshold approach, multiple thresholds approach, orthologous approach and multivariate model approach) and classified the related studies based on the metrics of EMF used. We illustrated the multiple-threshold approach with published data from our previous work to help researchers better understand the approach. The inconsistent use of EMF metrics made it difficult to compare different studies, which constrains further development of BEMF research. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop a general approach to measuring multifunctionality appropriately.

Key words: biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem multifunctionality, multifunctionality index

Table 1

The list of the metrics of ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF) and their uses in the literatures"

No. of papers published in top journals
单功能法 Single function 1 2 Duffy et al, 2003; Jing et al, 2015
功能-物种替代法 Turnover 3 5 Hector & Bagchi, 2007; He et al, 2009; Isbell et al, 2011; van der Heijden et al, 2015; Lefcheck et al, 2015
平均值法 Averaging 5 14 Hooper & Vitousek, 1998; Mouillot et al, 2011; Maestre et al, 2012a, b; Quero et al, 2013; Bradford et al, 2014a; Pendleton et al, 2014; Soliveres et al, 2014; Wagg et al, 2014; Constán-Nava et al, 2015; Jing et al, 2015; Lefcheck et al, 2015; Lundholm, 2015; Valencia et al, 2015
单阈值法 Single threshold 3 5 Gamfeldt et al, 2008; Zavaleta et al, 2010; Peter et al, 2011; Pasari et al, 2013; Bradford et al, 2014a
多阈值法 Multiple-threshold 3 5 Bradford et al, 2014a; Byrnes et al, 2014a; Jing et al, 2015; Lefcheck et al, 2015; Perkins et al, 2015
Multivariate model
0 1 Dooley et al, 2015
直系同源基因法 Orthologue 0 1 Miki et al, 2014
其他 Others 0 1 Bowker et al, 2013

Fig. 1

The relationship between diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and the number of functions beyond a threshold of the maximum observed value. Different colors indicate different thresholds. Cooler colors imply lower thresholds; and warmer colors higher thresholds. Tmin is the minimum threshold whose slope is significantly different from 0. Tmde is the threshold with the steepest slope. Tmax is the maximum threshold where the slope is not significantly different from 0 again. All indices preceded by M indicate the number of functions at or beyond the threshold (Data from Jing et al, 2015)."

Fig. 2

The slope of the relationship between diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and the number of functions beyond a threshold of the maximum observed value at different thresholds. Points are the fitted values and shading indicated ±1 CI. Tmin is the lowest threshold whose slope is significantly different from 0. Tmde is the threshold with the steepest slope. Tmax is the maximum threshold where the slope is not significantly different from 0 again. Rmde indicates the maximum slope estimated at Tmde (Data are from Jing et al, 2015)."

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