Functional redundancy quantifies the degree to which ecological roles are supported by few or many species and individuals in a community. In this project, we will explore how accounting for spatial context at landscape scales affects the importance of functional redundancy explaining biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships. This will involve a literature review to synthesise results of studies from diverse ecosystems and show how biodiversity - ecosystem function relationships depend not only on functional redundancy, but also on how a communities’ initial trait structure. We will also use a modelling approach to derive explicit hypotheses of how functional redundancy changes across different spatial scales. We expect to show that without accounting for the effects of spatial context, it is not possible to establish thresholds of functional redundancy that could be used as tangible management targets for the maintenance of high functional diversity. This remains a critical objective for biodiversity conservation and policy.

Supervisors: Prof Margie Mayfield and Dr Felipe Suarez Castro