The relation between circadian asynchrony, functional redundancy, and trophic performance in tropical ant communities


  • Corresponding Editor: N. J. Sanders.


The diversity–stability relationship has been under intense scrutiny for the past decades, and temporal asynchrony is recognized as an important aspect of ecosystem stability. In contrast to relatively well-studied interannual and seasonal asynchrony, few studies investigate the role of circadian cycles for ecosystem stability. Here, we studied multifunctional redundancy of diurnal and nocturnal ant communities in four tropical rain forest sites. We analyzed how it was influenced by species richness, functional performance, and circadian asynchrony. In two neotropical sites, species richness and functional redundancy were lower at night. In contrast, these parameters did not differ in the two paleotropical sites we studied. Circadian asynchrony between species was pronounced in the neotropical sites, and increased circadian functional redundancy. In general, species richness positively affected functional redundancy, but the effect size depended on the temporal and spatial breadth of the species with highest functional performance. Our analysis shows that high levels of trophic performance were only reached through the presence of such high-performing species, but not by even contributions of multiple, less-efficient species. Thus, these species can increase current functional performance, but reduce overall functional redundancy. Our study highlights that diurnal and nocturnal ecosystem properties of the very same habitat can markedly differ in terms of species richness and functional redundancy. Consequently, like the need to study multiple ecosystem functions, multiple periods of the circadian cycle need to be assessed in order to fully understand the diversity–stability relationship in an ecosystem.