Citation Kirkpatrick L, Mitchell S & Park K (2018) The metric matters when assessing diversity: Assessing lepidopteran species richness and diversity in two habitats under different disturbance regimes. Ecology and Evolution, 8 (22), pp. 11134-11142. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4581
Abstract How we measure diversity can have important implications for understanding the impacts of anthropogenic pressure on ecosystem processes and functioning. Functional diversity quantifies the range and relative abundance of functional traits within a given community and, as such, may provide a more mechanistic understanding of ecosystems. Here, we use a novel approach to examine how lepidopteran richness and diversity, weighted by species abundance, differ between habitats under different disturbance regimes (highly disturbed non‐native plantations and less disturbed broadleaf woodlands), both with and without constraining by similarity due to shared taxonomy or functional traits. Comparisons of diversity between the two habitats differed according to which metric was being used; while species richness was 58% greater in broadleaf woodlands, after accounting for species similarity due to shared functional traits, there was little difference between woodland types under two different disturbance regimes. Functional diversity varied within the landscape but was similar in paired broadleaf and plantation sites, suggesting that landscape rather than local factors drive biotic homogenization in plantation dominated landscapes. The higher richness in broadleaf sites appears to be driven by rare species, which share functional traits with more common species. Moth populations in disturbed, plantation sites represent a reduced subset of moth species compared to broadleaf sites, and may be more vulnerable to disturbance pressures such as clear‐felling operations due to low community resilience.