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Meha Jain, Dan F.B. Flynn, Case M. Prager, Georgia M. Hart, Caroline M. DeVan, Farshid S. Ahrestani, Matthew I. Palmer, Daniel E. Bunker, Johannes M.H. Knops, Claire F. Jouseau and Shahid Naeem The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies Ecology and Evolution 4

Version of Record online: 12 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.915

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The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. We examine the impacts that rare species have on functional diversity using trait-based metrics and four different definitions of rarity. We find that rare species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity; however, rare species are functionally redundant when defined by mean abundance.

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