sTreTra - Quantifying temporal change in traits across taxa and the globe

1st meeting planned for Spring 2021 (budget to be confirmed)

PIs:
Franziska Schrodt, University of Nottingham
Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews

Project summary
Systematic turnover in species composition is emerging as the signature of biodiversity change in the Anthropocene. While species richness trends vary in strength and direction, increasing rates of compositional change are ubiquitous. How this translates into change in ecosystem function, however, is poorly understood because the traits of outgoing and incoming species are rarely considered. Recent indications suggest directional changes, such as decreasing bird and fish body mass and increasing above-ground biomass in plants.
We aim to achieve more general understanding by quantifying assemblage-level trait changes, globally distributed and across scales, taxa and biomes. We propose to estimate the functional consequences of widespread species turnover, building on previous sDiv working groups on temporal change (sMon, sPlot, sTundra, sChange, sUMMITDiv, sREplot), by linking databases synthesizing functional traits with biodiversity time-series and developing methods to overcome pitfalls (data sparsity, different trait measurement conventions for different taxa, etc).  Specifically, we aim to:
1) link biodiversity time-series to trait data;
2) compare magnitudes of change between taxonomic and functional diversity across taxa and the globe;
3) test whether:
a) consistent and directional trait changes are unfolding in populations globally (e.g. shrinking body size, increasing heat tolerance)
b) there is consistent evidence of biotic homogenization in terms of both taxonomic and functional diversity
This work will further our understanding of the functional consequences of elevated turnover in species composition, improving our ability to predict associated ecosystem-functional change.

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