The Importance of Landscape and Population Diversity for Ecosystem Services Associated with Fishes

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Aquatic
Ecological restoration
systems ecology
University of Washington
stable ecosystem services
important ecosystem services
University of Washington, Seattle
Daniel Schindler
ecosystem services
diversity ecosystem
Volume 16, No. 4

The importance of landscape and population diversity for 
ecosystem services associated with fishes

Daniel Schindler, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
One of the most pervasive themes in ecology is that biological diversity stabilizes 
ecosystem processes and the services they provide to society; a concept that has become a 
common argument for biodiversity conservation. In particular, species-rich communities are 
thought to produce more temporally stable ecosystem services because of the complementary 
or independent dynamics among species that perform similar ecosystem functions. These 
arguments have focused on the effects of species diversity on ecosystem stability but have 
generally not considered the importance of biologically relevant diversity within individual 
species. Current rates of population extirpation are probably at least three orders of magnitude 
higher than species extinction rates so there is pressing need to clarify how population and 
life history diversity affect the performance of individual species in providing important 
ecosystem services. Furthermore, heterogeneity in habitat conditions buffers the effects of 
regional scale climate change on aquatic organisms because of complementary filtering of 
climate by different habitat types. Taken together, habitat heterogeneity and the associated 
diversity of populations that inhabit aquatic landscapes, enhance resilience in ecosystems and 
the human economies that rely on these ecosystems.