The potential population and community level impacts of fishing have received considerable attention, but little is known about how fishing influences communities' functional diversity at regional scales. We examined how estimates of functional diversity differed among 25 regions of variable richness and investigated the functional consequences of removing species targeted by commercial fisheries. Our study shows that fishing leads to substantial losses in functional diversity. The magnitude of such loss was, however, reduced in the more speciose regions. Moreover, the removal of commercially targeted species caused a much larger reduction in functional diversity than expected by random species deletions, which was a consequence of the selective nature of fishing for particular species traits. Results suggest that functional redundancy is spatially variable, that richer biotas provide some degree of insurance against the impact of fishing on communities' functional diversity and that fishing predominantly selects for particular species traits. Understanding how fishing impacts community functional diversity is key to predict its effects for biodiversity as well as ecosystem functioning. © 2012 Martins et al.
Martins, G. M., Arenas, F., Neto, A. I., & Jenkins, S. R. (2012). Effects of Fishing and Regional Species Pool on the Functional Diversity of Fish Communities. PLoS ONE, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044297