"The results of the study were stunning," says co-author Kevin Gaston at Sheffield University. "While experimental studies have elucidated that the biomass production of ecosystems stabilizes after a certain number of species is reached, this field study demonstrated that the production of biomass in reef fish systems did not saturate with the addition of new species."
"This study shows, quite simply, that the more biodiversity, the better," says co-author Marah Hardt with OceanInk. "The benefits appear limitless, if we allow ecosystems to operate at their full potential."
"The reasons leading to a non-saturating relationship between diversity and biomass production are intriguing," says coauthor Michel Kulbicki at the French Institute for Research and Development. "Nevertheless, this strong relationship clearly indicates that species interact in such a way that their combined effect is larger than the addition of their individual parts and that the loss of species can have far-reaching consequences in the functioning of coral reefs."
The study also demonstrated that standing biomass reduced with increasing human density, although for the same number of people the reduction of biomass was significantly larger in more diverse ecosystems. The authors presume that the stronger deleterious effect of humanity on more diverse reefs is due to the selective extirpation of large fishes, which are often more efficient at turni
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