Relationships of temperature and biodiversity with stability of natural aquatic food webs

Qinghua Zhao*, Paul J. van den Brink, Chi Xu, Shaopeng Wang, Adam T. Clark, Canan Karakoç, George Sugihara, Claire E. Widdicombe, Angus Atkinson, Shin Ichiro S. Matsuzaki, Ryuichiro Shinohara, Shuiqing He, Yingying X.G. Wang, Frederik De Laender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Temperature and biodiversity changes occur in concert, but their joint effects on ecological stability of natural food webs are unknown. Here, we assess these relationships in 19 planktonic food webs. We estimate stability as structural stability (using the volume contraction rate) and temporal stability (using the temporal variation of species abundances). Warmer temperatures were associated with lower structural and temporal stability, while biodiversity had no consistent effects on either stability property. While species richness was associated with lower structural stability and higher temporal stability, Simpson diversity was associated with higher temporal stability. The responses of structural stability were linked to disproportionate contributions from two trophic groups (predators and consumers), while the responses of temporal stability were linked both to synchrony of all species within the food web and distinctive contributions from three trophic groups (predators, consumers, and producers). Our results suggest that, in natural ecosystems, warmer temperatures can erode ecosystem stability, while biodiversity changes may not have consistent effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3507
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023


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