Get access

Diversity, function and stability in parasitoid communities



The parasitoid assemblages associated with grass-feeding chalcid wasps in Great Britain were used to examine the relationships between diversity (species richness), community function (total parasitism rate) and stability (variability in parasitism rate over time). Species-rich communities did not generate higher parasitism rates than species-poor communities, nor was temporal variation of parasitism rates related to parasitoid community richness. The mechanisms underlying hypotheses linking species richness and community function and stability are discussed in the light of these results. Because all parasitoid species represent a single functional group, a lack of complementarity in the ways they use their resources may explain why diversity is not linked to function or community stability. A second likely reason is that these parasitoid communities are under bottom-up control, thus exerting little or no influence on total system function and variability. This is likely to be common in parasitoid communities.