New publication from Eisenhauer et al. in npj Biodiversity: Reply: Functional similarity is more appropriate than functional redundancy
Replying to Felícia M. Fischer and Francesco de Bello npj Biodiversity https://doi.org/10.1038/s44185-023-00029-z (2023)
In our Comment, we outlined that the term functional redundancy (1) may have been overused from an ecological perspective and (2) can be dangerous and misleading in scientific communication. As a constructive way forward, we proposed to use the concept of “functional similarity” with regard to specific ecosystem functions to better highlight the unique contributions of all coexisting species to ecosystem functioning (Fig. 1). Moreover, we argued that functional similarity better describes gradients in niche overlap while having a less negative connotation. We were motivated to propose this change in terminology because of the intense public discourse on biodiversity-related topics and the potential of misinterpretation that may be caused by the mostly negative connotation that is associated with redundancy.
Eisenhauer, N., J. Hines, and M. C. Rillig. 2023. Reply: Functional similarity is more appropriate than functional redundancy. npj Biodiversity 2:1–2. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44185-023-00030-6.