|Keywords:||Biodiversity; Ecology; Euclidean distance; Food webs; Latitude; Network characters; Natural Sciences; Biological Sciences; Ecology; Naturvetenskap; Biologiska vetenskaper; Ekologi; Biology; Biologi|
|Full text PDF:||http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-108120|
Biodiversity is a fundamental part of the functioning of ecosystems and their ability to provide ecosystem services. It has been shown that a high biodiversity increases the robustness of an ecosystem according to the insurance hypothesis. I propose that a similar effect can be seen on a higher scale, where a high diversity of ecosystem types might stabilize the ecological functionality of a region. By comparing eleven network characters in 70 tropical and temperate ecosystems, their diversity was measured as Euclidean distance between the systems in the 11-dimensional room defined by these characters. The diversity of ecosystems was shown to be significantly higher in tropical latitudes than in temperate. A possible explanation to this result could be that the higher species diversity in the tropics allows for more types of ecosystems. A higher diversity of ecosystems in a region might indicate a larger amount and variation of possible ecosystem goods and services as well as provide the region with an increased robustness. The measurement of ecosystem diversity between regions might also be of importance in a conservation perspective, where unique and vulnerable ecosystems can be discovered and protected.