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Functional diversity can facilitate the collapse of an undesirable ecosystem state
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  • Romana Limberger,
  • Uriah Daugaard,
  • Anubhav Gupta,
  • Rainer Krug,
  • Kimberley Lemmen,
  • Sofia van Moorsel,
  • Marcel Suleiman,
  • Debra Zuppinger-Dingley,
  • Owen Petchey
Romana Limberger
University of Zurich
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Uriah Daugaard
University of Zurich
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Anubhav Gupta
University of Zurich
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Rainer Krug
University of Zurich
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Kimberley Lemmen
University of Zurich
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Sofia van Moorsel
University of Zurich
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Marcel Suleiman
University of Zurich
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Debra Zuppinger-Dingley
University of Zurich
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Owen Petchey
University of Zurich
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Abstract

Biodiversity may increase ecosystem resilience. However, we have limited understanding if this holds true for ecosystems that respond to gradual environmental change with abrupt shifts to an alternative state. Here we modelled the interactions of three groups of bacteria that mediate anoxic-oxic regime shifts, and explored how trait diversity influences resilience. We found that diversity did not always increase resilience: greater diversity in two of the groups increased but in one group decreased resilience of their preferred ecosystem state. We also found that simultaneous diversity in multiple groups often led to smaller effects than diversity in only one group. Overall, our results suggest that higher diversity can increase resilience but can also promote collapse when diversity occurs in a functional group that negatively influences the state it occurs in. We propose this mechanism as a potential management approach to facilitate the recovery of a desired ecosystem state.