Received: 28 Jan 2016 – Discussion started: 29 Jan 2016
Abstract. The global scale of the biodiversity crisis has stimulated research on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) in several ecosystems of the world. Even though the deep-sea seafloor is the largest biome on Earth, BEF studies in deep-sea benthic ecosystems are scarce. In addition, the few recent studies, mostly focus on meiobenthic nematodes, report quite different results spanning from a very clear positive relationship to none at all. If deep-sea BEF relationships are indeed so variable or have a more common nature is not established. In this first BEF study of deep-sea macrobenthic fauna, we investigated the structural and functional diversity of macrofauna assemblages at three depths (1200, 1900 and 3000 m) in seven different open slope systems in the NE Atlantic Ocean (n = 1) and Western (n = 3) and Central (n = 3) Mediterranean Sea. The results demonstrate a positive relationship between deep-sea macrobenthic diversity and ecosystem function, with some variability in its strength between slope areas and in relation to the spatial scale of investigation and environmental conditions. The macrofauna functional diversity did not appear to be more effective than structural diversity in influencing ecosystem processes. Rare macrofaunal species were seen to have a negligible effect on BEF relationship, suggesting a high ecological redundancy and a small role of rare species in providing community services.
How to cite. Baldrighi, E., Giovannelli, D., d’Errico, G., Lavaleye, M., and Manini, E.: Deep-sea ecosystem: a world of positive biodiversity – ecosystem functioning relationships?, Biogeosciences Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-26, 2016.
The manuscript provides new interesting insights into the investigation of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) in the deep-sea ecosystems. We show the effect of macrobenthic fauna structural and functional diversity on the ecosystem functioning and efficiency. The effect of the “rare” species on the BEF relations has been discussed. Understanding BEF relationships an the processes underneath is pivotal in preserving the deep-sea ecosystem and its functioning.
The manuscript provides new interesting insights into the investigation of the relationship...