What is Maintenance?
Maintenance as a theme covers the multitude of processes that support and govern contemporary species communities across spatial scales. These drivers include species interactions, species adaptations, response to spatial variation in climate and different resource levels, which all work together to shape the patterns we observe in nature. Today, some of these processes are also anthropogenic in nature, including land use, climate, and species interaction regimes.
We use observations and simulation models to explore patterns and processes that underlie the maintenance of biodiversity now and into the future.
Our overall research questions
By employing primary-level field observation data together with large-scale databases on species distributions and sophisticated simulation models we address three fundamental questions:
- How do evolution, ecology, and biogeography interact to maintain species diversity in local communities and at larger scales?
- What are the relative roles of deterministic and stochastic processes in the maintenance of diversity?
- How are local communities assembled?
Some of our research projects within the theme of Maintenance are described below
The ultimate testing ground for understanding the fundamental processes of nature is the large-scale patterns of species diversity across the planet. By
Effects of climate change and land use change on bird population trends
While both climate and land use change are recognized as top threats to biodiversity, studies on their synergistic effects are very rare. Using an unprecedented long-term citizen science program monitoring bird populations across Denmark, combined with European datasets, we aim to quantify the relative importance of climate and land use change on driving population changes over the past four decades.
Disentangling the roles of climate change and land use on biodiversity change
Are species shifting their distributions solely to track the warming temperatures or do land use changes like land abandonment play a role? Attributing biodiversity responses to different human-driven factors is challenging due to correlations, scale-dependencies, and interaction effects between them. Further, consistent definitions and measures of land use change that can be directly related to biodiversity responses are missing. We explore the potential of high-resolution remote sensing products and ground-based imagery for improving land use measures and develop a framework for separating the impacts of land use and climate change using a range of methodologies such as meta-analysis, fieldwork, and
The global importance of mountain diversity
Mountains are home to a disproportionate amount of the world's species, appear to play a key role in generating new species, and are crucial as homes and water suppliers to humans. We are mapping these patterns across the globe and reviewing the great progress that has been made in recent years in understanding mountain diversity.
ContactProfessor Carsten Rahbek
Professor Emeritus Jon Fjeldså
Predictive models for species diversity
Macroecological analyses have long relied on correlative models, fitting statistical curves to observed relationships, but in recent years some of the most novel insights have come from explicitly mechanistic predictive models of species diversity. We develop a number of such models and aim to drive a paradigm shift in how we test hypotheses in macroecology.
Small-scale spatiotemporal structuring of marine phytoplankton diversity
We explore how relatively small differences in the ocean environment at the local scale lead to a heterogeneous distribution of phytoplankton diversity and what effect this patchy distribution has on the maintenance of diversity at larger spatial scales.
Professor Katherine Richardson
Modelling plankton dynamics in the open ocean
The project is part of an international project aiming to better constrain the planetary boundary on biosphere integrity. The plankton dynamics
ContactProfessor Katherine Richardson
Identifying global patterns in the vertical and horizontal distribution of ocean primary production (PP)
In this project, we examine global datasets for patterns in photosynthetic performance. It combines field and
ContactProfessor Katherine Richardson
No species or population exists in isolation from others. Species interactions are the basic components that make up local communities, and may even be the underlying driver of species distributions across large scales.
Understanding the changing geography of parasites and vector-borne diseases
A vast proportion of biodiversity are parasites and other pathogen organisms that can cause disease in humans and other animals. They display intriguing worldwide geographical variation in richness and prevalence, shaped by the many closely interacting host and climate-sensitive vector species. We work to develop evidence-based predictive models for the emergence and changing transmission patterns of a number of vector-borne diseases, by discovering basic ecological and biological mechanisms behind their distributions and emergence. Current work focuses mainly on
Associate Professor Anna-Sofie Stensgaard
Effects of anthropogenic community change on island interaction networks
Oceanic islands are hotspots of both anthropogenic extinctions and introductions of non-native species, leading to marked functional shifts in island communities. Functional shifts threaten to disrupt key species interactions, such as animal-mediated seed dispersal, with potential long-term impacts on the integrity of island plant communities and vegetation structure. This project aims at describing and quantifying secondary effect of extinctions on island communities.
The questions of what governs the species composition of local communities, and at which scale these processes occur are some of the questions we seek to answer.
Deterministic processes prevent ecologically similar species from coexisting in local communities, but do they shape distributions at larger spatial scale? We address this question using one of the most complete datasets on a single clade: the ~800-species large radiation of
The effects of climate, landscape history, and land use on macrofungal communities in Europe
Fungal communities in Europe are highly species-rich, complex and comparatively little studied. Based on several different datasets, we investigate how landscape history, contemporary climate, species interactions and land use affect community assembly and trait space in macrofungal communities.
Associate Professor Jacob Heilmann-Clausen
Clauson-Kaas, A. S. K., Richardson, K., Rahbek, C., Holt, B. G. 2017. "Species-specific environmental preferences associated with a hump-shaped diversity/temperature relationship across tropical marine fish assemblages". Journal of Biogeography. Download.
Dalsgaard, B., Schleuning, M., Maruyama, P. K., Dehling, D. M., Sonne, J., Vizentin-Bugoni, J., Zanata, T. B., Fjeldså, J., Böhning-Gaese, K. and Rahbek, C. 2017. "Opposed latitudinal patterns of network-derived and dietary specialization in avian plant–frugivore interaction systems". Ecography 40. Download.
Lyngsgaard, M. M., Markager, S., Richardson, K., Møller, E. F., Jakobsen, H. H. 2017. "How well does chlorophyll explain the seasonal variation in phytoplankton activity?". Estuaries and Coasts. Download.
Ørsted Jensen, L., Richardson, K., Mousing, E. A. 2017. "Using species distribution modelling to predict future distributions of phytoplankton:
Richardson, K., Bendtsen, J., Kragh, T., Mousing, E. A. 2016. "Constraining the distribution of photosynthetic parameters in the global ocean". Frontiers in Marine Science 3, 269. Download.
Sonne, J. et al. 2016. "High proportion of smaller ranged hummingbird species coincides with ecological specialization across the Americas". Proc. R. Soc. B 283: 20152512. Download.