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Refocusing multiple stressor research around the targets and scales of ecological impacts


Simmons, BI and Blyth, PSA and Blanchard, JL and Clegg, T and Delmas, E and Garnier, A and Griffiths, CA and Jacob, U and Pennekamp, F and Petchey, OL and Poisot, T and Webb, TJ and Beckerman, AP, Refocusing multiple stressor research around the targets and scales of ecological impacts, Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5, (11) pp. 1478-1489. ISSN 2397-334X (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Springer Nature Limited 2021.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01547-4


Ecological communities face a variety of environmental and anthropogenic stressors acting simultaneously. Stressor impacts can combine additively or can interact, causing synergistic or antagonistic effects. Our knowledge of when and how interactions arise is limited, as most models and experiments only consider the effect of a small number of non-interacting stressors at one or few scales of ecological organization. This is concerning because it could lead to significant underestimations or overestimations of threats to biodiversity. Furthermore, stressors have been largely classified by their source rather than by the mechanisms and ecological scales at which they act (the target). Here, we argue, first, that a more nuanced classification of stressors by target and ecological scale can generate valuable new insights and hypotheses about stressor interactions. Second, that the predictability of multiple stressor effects, and consistent patterns in their impacts, can be evaluated by examining the distribution of stressor effects across targets and ecological scales. Third, that a variety of existing mechanistic and statistical modelling tools can play an important role in our framework and advance multiple stressor research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Blanchard, JL (Professor Julia Blanchard)
ID Code:152530
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Research Performance and Analysis
Deposited On:2022-08-20
Last Modified:2022-09-01

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