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Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 783–801 | Cite as

Functional ecology of fish: current approaches and future challenges

  • Sébastien Villéger
  • Sébastien Brosse
  • Maud Mouchet
  • David Mouillot
  • Michael J. Vanni
Overview

Abstract

Fish communities face increasing anthropogenic pressures in freshwater and marine ecosystems that modify their biodiversity and threaten the services they supply to human populations. To address these issues, studies have been increasingly focusing on functions of fish that are linked to their main ecological roles in aquatic ecosystems. Fish are indeed known to control other organisms through predation, mediate nutrient fluxes, and can act as ecosystem engineers. Here for each of the key functions played by fish, we present the functional traits that have already been used to assess them. We include traits measurable from observations on living individuals, morphological features measured on preserved organisms or traits categorized using information from the literature, and we discuss their respective advantages and limitations. We then list future research directions to foster a more complete functional approach for fish ecology that needs to incorporate functional traits describing, food provisioning and cultural services while accounting more frequently for intraspecific variability. Finally, we highlight ecological and evolutionary questions that could be addressed using meta-analyses of large trait databases, and how a trait-based framework could provide valuable insights on the mechanistic links between global changes, functional diversity of fish assemblages, and ecosystem services.

Keywords

Ocean River Biodiversity Functional trait Global change Ecosystem services Fish 

Notes

Acknowledgements

During manuscript preparation, S. Villéger was supported by a grant from the CNRS (BIOHEFFECT RENUPEC). M.J. Vanni was supported by NSF grant DEB-0918993 (an OPUS award). S. Brosse is a member of the lab EDB, part of the “Laboratoires d’Excellence (LABEX)” entitled TULIP (ANR-10-LABX-41) and CEBA (ANR-10-LABX-25). We thank Dr Mark Kennard and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

27_2017_546_MOESM1_ESM.doc (372 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 372 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Biodiversité Marine et ses usages (UMR 9190 MARBEC) CNRS-UM-IFREMER-IRD, Université de MontpellierMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Laboratoire Évolution et Diversité Biologique UMR 5174 UPS-CNRS-ENFA, Université Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Centre d’Ecologie et de Sciences de la Conservation UMR 7204 CNRS-MNHN-UPMCParisFrance
  4. 4.Department of BiologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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