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Keywords:

  • Biodiversity;
  • community assembly;
  • ecosystem functioning;
  • niche complementarity;
  • regional processes;
  • spatial scale

Local niche complementarity among species (the partitioning of species based upon niche differentiation) is predicted to affect local ecosystem functioning positively. However, recent theory predicts that greater local diversity may hinder local ecosystem functioning when diversity is enhanced through source–sink dynamics. We suggest community assembly as a way to incorporate both the local and regional processes that determine biodiversity and its consequent effects on ecosystem functioning. From this, we propose a hump-shaped relationship between diversity and ecosystem functioning at local scales, but a linear increase of functioning with diversity at regional scales due to regional complementarity.