Cox, D.T.C., Gardner, A.S. & Gaston, K.J. 2022. Global and regional erosion of mammalian functional diversity across the diel cycle. Science Advances 8, eabn6008.
Biodiversity is declining worldwide. When species are physically active (i.e., their diel niche) may influence their risk of becoming functionally extinct. It may also affect how species losses affect ecosystems. For 5033 terrestrial mammals, we predict future changes to diel global and local functional diversity through a gradient of progressive functional extinction scenarios of threatened species. Across scenarios, diurnal species were at greater risk of becoming functionally extinct than nocturnal, crepuscular, and cathemeral species, resulting in deep functional losses in global diurnal trait space. Redundancy (species with similar roles) will buffer global nocturnal functional diversity; however, across the land surface, losses will mostly occur among functionally dispersed species (species with distinct roles). Functional extinctions will constrict boundaries of cathemeral trait space as megaherbivores, and arboreal foragers are lost. Variation in the erosion of functional diversity across the daily cycle will likely profoundly affect the partitioning of ecosystem functioning between night and day.