Recent work suggests that the effect of extinction on ecosystem function depends on whether or not species have identical extinction risks. Here, we use a simple model of community dynamics to predict how the functional consequences of random and non-random extinction may differ. The model suggests that when resource partitioning or facilitation structures communities, the functional consequences of non-random extinction depend on the covariance between species traits and cumulative extinction risks, and the compensatory responses among survivors. Strong competition increases the difference between random and ordered extinctions, but mutualisms reduce the difference. When diversity affects function via a sampling effect, the difference between random and ordered extinction depends on the covariance between species traits and the change in the probability of being the competitive dominant caused by ordered extinction. These findings show how random assembly experiments can be combined with information about species traits to make qualitative predictions about the functional consequences of various extinction scenarios.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics