- Top of page
- Selection of functional traits
- Data processing and the assignment of functional groups and functional diversity
- Applications of functional classifications and FD
- The ‘intermediate disturbance hypothesis’ and ecosystem function
- The ‘insurance hypothesis’ and functional redundancy
- Ecosystem shifts
1. This is a discussion of the applicability to the phytoplankton of the concepts of ‘plant functional types’ (PFTs) and ‘functional diversity’ (FD), which originated in terrestrial plant ecology.
2. Functional traits driving the performance of phytoplankton species reflect important processes such as growth, sedimentation, grazing losses and nutrient acquisition.
3. This paper presents an objective, mathematical way of assigning PFTs and measuring FD. Ecologists can use this new approach to investigate general hypotheses [e.g. the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH), the insurance hypothesis and synchronicity phenomena] as, for example, in its original formulation the IDH makes its predictions based on FD rather than species diversity.