Continental particulate organic matter (POM) plays a major role in the functioning of coastal marine ecosystems as a disturbance as well as an input of nutrients. Relationships linking continental inputs from the Rhone River to biodiversity of the coastal benthic ecosystem and fishery production were investigated in the Golfe du Lion (NW Mediterranean Sea). Macrobenthic community diversity decreased when continen¬tal inputs of organic matter increased, whereas ecosystem production, measured by common sole (Solea solea) fishery yields in the area, increased. Decreases in macrobenthic diversity were mainly related to an increasing abundance of species with specific functional traits, particularly deposit-feeding polychaetes. The decrease in macrobenthic diversity did not result in a decrease, but an increase in ecosystem production, as it enhanced the transfer of continental POM into marine food webs. The present study showed that it is necessary to consider functional traits of species, direct and indirect links between species, and feedback loops to understand the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning and productivity.
Diversity, Production, Polychaetes, Common sole (Solea solea), Fisheries
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