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Linking biodiversity to ecosystem services supply: Patterns across aquatic ecosystems

Teixeira, Heliana, Lillebø, Ana I., Culhane, Fiona, Robinson, Leonie, Trauner, Daniel, Borgwardt, Florian, Kuemmerlen, Mathias, Barbosa, Ana, McDonald, Hugh, Funk, Andrea, O'Higgins, Tim, Van der Wal, Jan Tjalling, Piet, Gerjan, Hein, Thomas, Arévalo-Torres, Juan, Iglesias-Campos, Alejandro, Barbière, Julian, Nogueira, António J.A.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.657 pp. 517-534
aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, case studies, decision making, ecosystem management, ecosystem services, freshwater, habitats, planning, social environment, society, statistical analysis
Global initiatives have been increasingly focusing on mainstreaming the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making at all levels. Due to the accelerated rate at which biodiversity is declining and its consequences for the functioning of ecosystems and subsequently, the services they provide, there is need to develop comprehensive assessments of the services and the benefits nature delivers to society. Based on expert evaluation, we identified relevant flow linkages in the supply-side of the socio-ecological system, i.e. from biodiversity to ecosystem services supply for eight case studies across European aquatic ecosystems covering freshwater, transitional, coastal and marine waters realms. Biological mediated services were considered, as well as those reliant on purely physical aspects of the ecosystem, i.e. abiotic outputs, since both have implications for spatial planning, management and decision-making. Due to the multidimensional nature of ecosystems and their biodiversity, our approach used ecosystem components such as habitats and biota as proxies for biodiversity and as the focal point for linkage identification. Statistical analysis revealed the importance of considering mobile biota in the spatial assessment of habitats. Contrary to literature evidences so far, our results showed significantly different and complementary ecosystem services supply patterns across the continuum of aquatic realms. The implemented score of ecosystem services supply has a high potential for integrated aquatic ecosystem service supply assessments in the context of ecosystem-based management.