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Long-term changes in temperate marine fish assemblages are driven by a small subset of species
Global Change Biology  (IF10.863),  Pub Date : 2021-10-20, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15947
Nicholas J. Gotelli, Faye Moyes, Laura H. Antão, Shane A. Blowes, Maria Dornelas, Brian J. McGill, Amelia Penny, Aafke M. Schipper, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Sarah R. Supp, Conor A. Waldock, Anne E. Magurran

The species composition of plant and animal assemblages across the globe has changed substantially over the past century. How do the dynamics of individual species cause this change? We classified species into seven unique categories of temporal dynamics based on the ordered sequence of presences and absences that each species contributes to an assemblage time series. We applied this framework to 14,434 species trajectories comprising 280 assemblages of temperate marine fishes surveyed annually for 20 or more years. Although 90% of the assemblages diverged in species composition from the baseline year, this compositional change was largely driven by only 8% of the species' trajectories. Quantifying the reorganization of assemblages based on species shared temporal dynamics should facilitate the task of monitoring and restoring biodiversity. We suggest ways in which our framework could provide informative measures of compositional change, as well as leverage future research on pattern and process in ecological systems.