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Ecological Research

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 397–404 | Cite as

Diversity–productivity–stability relationship in freshwater ecosystems: Whole-systemic view of all trophic levels

  • Ichiro Aoki
Original Articles

The idea of the diversity–productivity relationship in ecology was originated by Charles Darwin more than 100 years ago and was highlighted by McNaughton in 1993. There have been extensive studies on this relationship, mostly conducted in grasslands. Many studies assert that a high level of biodiversity leads to high primary productivity, in accord with Darwin. However, these studies have mostly been done in grasslands (primary producer) and do not take into account effects from other trophic levels. The possibility remains that the positive diversity–production relationship does not hold in other types of ecological systems and that multitrophic effects influence and modify the relationship. In the present study, the diversity–productivity relationship is examined for freshwater foodwebs, including whole trophic compartments, by using indices of diversity and productivity more suitable for a whole systemic study on ecological systems. It seems that there are two trends in the relationship: productivity increases with the increase of diversity in ecosystems when diversity is small, and decreases with diversity in ecosystems when diversity is large. The first trend may be due to nutrient-limiting characteristics and the second trend may be due to photosynthetically active radiation–limiting characteristics. Also, both higher trophic and whole-systemic productivities are found to increase relative to primary productivity with the increase of diversity. Stability indices introduced previously, combined with the present results, reveal a positive correlation between relative productivity and stability in freshwater foodwebs, including all trophic compartments.

Key words

biodiversity foodwebs freshwater ecosystems productivity stability 

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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringShizuoka UniversityHamamatsuJapan
  2. 2.10-604 Ginkakujimae-choSakyo-kuKyotoJapan

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