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Glob Ecol Biogeogr. 2014 Jul 1;23(7):780-788.

Asynchrony of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity in birds.

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Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2 5554, Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France.
UMR CNRS-MNHN-UPMC 7204 - Centre d'Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.
INRA, UMR CBGP (INRA/IRD/Cirad/Montpellier SupAgro), Campus international de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez, France.
UMR CNRS-IFREMER-UM2 5119 - Ecosystèmes Lagunaires. ECOLAG, Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France.
Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553, Université J. Fourier, 38041 Grenoble, France.



We assessed the temporal trends of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversities in the French avifauna over the last two decades. Additionally, we investigated whether and how this multifaceted approach to biodiversity dynamics can reveal an increasing similarity of local assemblages in terms of species, traits and/or lineages.




We analysed a large-scale dataset that recorded annual changes in the abundance of 116 breeding birds in France between 1989 and 2012. We decomposed and analysed the spatio-temporal dynamics of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversities and each of their α-, β- and γ-components. We also calculated the trend in the mean specialization of bird communities to track the relative success of specialist versus generalist species within communities during the same period.


We found large variation within and among the temporal trends of each biodiversity facet. On average, we found a marked increase in species and phylogenetic diversity over the period considered, but no particular trend was found for functional diversity. Conversely, changes in β-diversities for the three facets were characterized by independent and nonlinear trends. We also found a general increase in the local occurrence and abundance of generalist species within local communities.


These results highlight a relative asynchrony of the different biodiversity facets occurring at large spatial scales. We show why a multifaceted approach to biodiversity dynamics is needed to better describe and understand changes in community composition in macroecology and conservation biogeography.


Beta diversity; Rao; breeding bird survey; functional traits; homogenization; species turnover; temporal dynamics

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