Asynchrony drives plant and animal community stability in mediterranean coastal dunes

Tania L.F. Bird, Pua Bar, Elli Groner, Amos Bouskila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Substantial evidence now suggests that a positive diversity–stability relationship exists. Yet few studies examine the facets of biodiversity that contribute to this relationship, and empirical research is predominantly conducted on grassland communities under controlled conditions. We investigate the roles of species richness, environmental condition (vegetation cover), asynchrony, and weighted population stability in driving community stability across multiple taxa. We used data from a Long-term Ecological Research project to investigate temporal stability of annual plants, beetles, reptiles, and rodents in Nizzanim Coastal Sand Dune Nature Reserve in Israel. All four taxa had a strong positive relationship between asynchrony and community stability. Only rodents showed a positive richness–stability relationship. Perennial plant cover had a significant relationship with community stability for three taxa, but the direction of the correlation varied. Asynchrony had a stronger relationship with perennial plant cover than it did with richness for both plants and beetles. We suggest that community stability is driven by asynchrony for flora as well as fauna. Stability appears to be determined by species’ interactions and their responses to the environment, and not always by diversity. This has important consequences for understanding the effects of environmental degradation on ecosystem stability and productivity, which have destabilizing consequences beyond biodiversity loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6214
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Biodiversity
  • Coastal dunes
  • Community stability
  • Covariance effect
  • Cross-taxa congruence
  • Diversity–stability relationship
  • Multi-taxa
  • Population stability
  • Species richness
  • Species synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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