Increased functional diversity warns of ecological transition in the Arctic
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. 2021, 288 (1948), . 10.1098/rspb.2021.0054
As temperatures rise, motile species start to redistribute to more suitable areas, potentially affecting the persistence of several resident species and altering biodiversity and ecosystem functions. In the Barents Sea, a hotspot for global warming, marine fish from boreal regions have been increasingly found in the more exclusive Arctic region. Here, we show that this shift in species distribution is increasing species richness and evenness, and even more so, the functional diversity of the Arctic. Higher diversity is often interpreted as being positive for ecosystem health and is a target for conservation. However, the increasing trend observed here may be transitory as the traits involved threaten Arctic species via predation and competition. If the pressure from global warming continues to rise, the ensuing loss of Arctic species will result in a reduction in functional diversity.