g, Jones and Thornber 2010) Although the majority of the scient

g., Jones and Thornber 2010). Although the majority of the scientific studies on the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning paradigm have been done in terrestrial ecosystems (Hooper et al. 2005), recent studies have also started to investigate ecosystem consequences of biodiversity loss in marine systems (Cardinale et al. 2006, Bracken et al. 2008, Danovaro et al. 2008, Reynolds and Bruno 2012). A general theoretical framework of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is well described by Boero and Bonsdorff (2007). Primary production is the most common ecosystem process measured in species richness manipulation experiments (Hooper et al.

2005), including marine experimental approaches (e.g., Bruno et al. 2005, Griffin et al. 2009, Tait and Schiel 2011). Primary Selleck LY294002 production in the ocean is an important component of global biogeochemical cycles, and transfer of energy through most food webs can be directly linked to the fixation of carbon at the primary producer level (Field et al. 1998). Primary productivity in an ecosystem is closely related to species diversity, although effects of species identity have recently been suggested Talazoparib as an important component of benthic marine community production (Bruno et al. 2005, 2006). The productivity–diversity relationship, however, is very complex and may present positive,

negative, hump-shaped, U-shaped or nonsignificant patterns (Waide et al. 1999). Additionally, biodiversity can also influence ecosystem predictability (McGrady-Steed et al. 1997). MCE As a result, theory predicts a reduction in the temporal or spatial variance of ecosystem properties with increasing biodiversity (Yachi and Loreau 1999, France and Duffy 2006). Although macroalgae make up a small proportion of ocean primary production, they are the dominant primary producers of rocky shore ecosystems (Mann 1973), providing an essential ecological function for aquatic life. In addition, macroalgae are considered foundation species, providing habitat that may modify abiotic and biotic processes essential

to overall ecosystem function (Bruno et al. 2003, Dijkstra et al. 2012). Hence, quantifying the primary productivity of these assemblages is essential to our understanding of energetic dynamics in coastal marine systems and the factors affecting it. Preliminary studies on photosynthesis, growth or nutrient acquisition of macroalgae have been mainly examined in laboratory experiments (Littler and Arnold 1982) using single species (see Sand-Jensen et al. 2007 for a review). More recently, several studies suggested that for a better understanding of the primary production dynamics in macroalgae, an assemblage-based approach must be considered (Binzer and Middelboe 2005, Binzer et al. 2006, Richards et al. 2011).

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