Research

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

In the Functional Biodiversity Lab, we study (i) how biodiversity is changing at different scales of space and time, and (ii) the functional ecosystem consequences of biodiversity loss. We work with a range of organisms and ecosystems, including bacteria, coastal rock pool communities, temperate forests and both marine pelagic and benthic habitats. For this, we use a range of approaches, including analyses of time-series of monitoring data, field- and laboratory experiments, simulation modelling and meta-analyses.

We work mainly to enhance our fundamental knowledge about community and ecosystem ecology, but our research also has applied value. To understand the consequences of human activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services, we need a deeper understanding about how biodiversity and ecosystem processes interact over space and time. Ultimately, we hope that our research will aid both ecosystem management and conservation.

OPEN SCIENCE

Being part of the beehive that is science is exciting and fun. We are all, to some extent, at the frontier of our knowledge, asking novel questions with unknown answers. Science can only proceed by mutual exchange of ideas, and is thus an inherently collective construction. We hence adhere to the idea that science should be open. This means, among other things, making data and code freely available. Furthermore, science should be an inclusive environment. We sign on to the code of conduct as described by the Poisot Lab.

CURRENT RESEARCH

We are currently addressing three contemporary issues in ecology and functional biodiversity research.

How do the consequences of changes in biodiversity change with spatial scale?

The effects of biodiversity loss on larger scales can be expected to differ from those on smaller scales. However, this will likely depend on how heterogenous the environment is, on what scale heterogeneity occurs and how species can move to occupy these different environments.  We are addressing this question using a combination of simulation modelling, a bacterial microcosm system and (hopefully) coastal rock pools and shallow marine rocky shores.

People: Lars Gamfeldt and James Hagan

External collaborators: Fabian Roger, Anne Farewell, Martin Palm, Jonas Warringer, Jon Lefcheck and John Griffin.

How does the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function change when more functions are considered?

The role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning has been proposed to be stronger when multiple ecosystem functions are considered. We questioned this in a recent perspectives paper (Gamfeldt and Roger 2017). Currently, we are in a working group with international colleagues to reach consensus on this issue.

People:  Lars Gamfeldt and James Hagan

Working group members: Fabian Roger, Caroline Brophy, Pete Manning, Yann Hautier, Eleanor Slade, Nicolas Fanin and Sebastian Meyer.

How has biodiversity changed across taxa and ecosystems?

Although it is clear that biodiversity is declining at global scales, changes in biodiversity at local to regional scales are less obvious (McGill et al. 2015). Currently, we are gathering data from a range of taxa and ecosystems to examine patterns of biodiversity change across spatial scales and examine the possible mechanisms that explain these changes.

People: Lars Gamfeldt and James Hagan

External collaborators: Malin Olofsson and Bengt Karlsson

How does tree biodiversity affect ecosystem services delivery in temperate forests?

We are interested in studying how variation in tree species composition and diversity is related to variation in forest ecosystem services. To this end, we use data from the Swedish national forest inventory which covers the whole of Sweden, and which estimates the levels of a range of forest attributes related to services of high value to human society.

People: Lars Gamfeldt

External collaborators: Tord Snäll, Janne Bengtsson, Micael Jonsson and Jon Moen.