University of Oulu

Wilfahrt, P. A., Asmus, A. L., Seabloom, E. W., Henning, J. A., Adler, P., Arnillas, C. A., Bakker, J. D., Biederman, L., Brudvig, L. A., Cadotte, M., Daleo, P., Eskelinen, A., Firn, J., Harpole, W. S., Hautier, Y., Kirkman, K. P., Komatsu, K. J., Laungani, R., MacDougall, A., McCulley, R. L., Moore, J. L., Morgan, J. W., Mortensen, B., Ochoa Hueso, R., Ohlert, T., Power, S. A., Price, J., Risch, A. C., Schuetz, M., Shoemaker, L., Stevens, C., Strauss, A. T., Tognetti, P. M., Virtanen, R., and Borer, E. T.. 2021. Temporal rarity is a better predictor of local extinction risk than spatial rarity. Ecology 102( 11):e03504. 10.1002/ecy.3504

Temporal rarity is a better predictor of local extinction risk than spatial rarity

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Author: Wilfahrt, Peter A.1; Asmus, Ashley L.1; Seabloom, Eric W.1;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108 USA
2Department of Biology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, 36688 USA
3Department of Wildland Resources and the Ecology Center, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, 84322 USA
4Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, M1C 1A4 Canada
5School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 98195 USA
6Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011 USA
7Department of Plant Biology and Program in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824 USA
8Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, M1C 1A4 Canada
9Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), CONICET – UNMDP, Mar del Plata, Argentina
10Department of Biology, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, 04103 Germany
11School of Biology & Environmental Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000 Australia
12Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, Leipzig, 04318 Germany
13Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, am Kirchtor 1, Halle (Saale), 06108 Germany
14Ecology and Biodiversity Group, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 The Netherlands
15School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville, 3209 South Africa
16Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, 21037 USA
17Department of Biology, Doane University, Crete, Nebraska, 68333 USA
18Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 Canada
19Department of Plant & Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 40546 USA
20School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3800 Australia
21Department of Ecology, Environment & Evolution, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3086 Australia
22Department of Biology, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas, 66002 USA
23Department of Biology, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, 11001 Spain
24Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131 USA
25Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, 2751 Australia
26Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Albury, New South Wales, 2678 Australia
27Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, 8903 Switzerland
28Botany Department, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071 USA
29Lancaster Environment Center, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ UK
30Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 30602 USA
31IFEVA, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina
32Department of Biology, University of Oulu, Oulu, 90570 Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-19


Spatial rarity is often used to predict extinction risk, but rarity can also occur temporally. Perhaps more relevant in the context of global change is whether a species is core to a community (persistent) or transient (intermittently present), with transient species often susceptible to human activities that reduce niche space. Using 5–12 yr of data on 1,447 plant species from 49 grasslands on five continents, we show that local abundance and species persistence under ambient conditions are both effective predictors of local extinction risk following experimental exclusion of grazers or addition of nutrients; persistence was a more powerful predictor than local abundance. While perturbations increased the risk of exclusion for low persistence and abundance species, transient but abundant species were also highly likely to be excluded from a perturbed plot relative to ambient conditions. Moreover, low persistence and low abundance species that were not excluded from perturbed plots tended to have a modest increase in abundance following perturbance. Last, even core species with high abundances had large decreases in persistence and increased losses in perturbed plots, threatening the long-term stability of these grasslands. Our results demonstrate that expanding the concept of rarity to include temporal dynamics, in addition to local abundance, more effectively predicts extinction risk in response to environmental change than either rarity axis predicts alone.

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Series: Ecology
ISSN: 0012-9658
ISSN-E: 1939-9170
ISSN-L: 0012-9658
Volume: 102
Issue: 11
Article number: e03504
DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3504
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was generated using data from the Nutrient Network ( experiment, funded at the site-scale by individual researchers. Coordination and data management have been supported by funding to E. Borer and E. Seabloom from the National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network (NSF-DEB-1042132) and Long Term Ecological Research (NSF-DEB-1234162 and NSF-DEB-1831944 to Cedar Creek LTER) programs, and the Institute on the Environment (DG-0001-13). A. Eskelinen was supported by the Academy of Finland (297191).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 297191
Detailed Information: 297191 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 by the Ecological Society of America.