The Community Composition Working Group (WG) focuses on the challenge of defining, and catalysing measurement of, EBVs for assessing change in the compositional diversity of assemblages of organisms occurring within and between ecosystems. These variables will need to address multiple dimensions of diversity, including the taxonomic, genetic/phylogenetic, and functional-trait diversity of organisms, and the diversity of interactions between these organisms.

In contrast to EBVs in the Genetic Composition, Species Populations, and Species Traits classes, which describe changes in attributes (e.g. genetic diversity, distribution, abundance, traits) of defined species, or populations of species, EBVs in the Community Composition class will describe changes in collective attributes of whole assemblages of organisms occurring within defined spatial areas (e.g. a grid-cell, or the entire extent of an ecosystem type). However, unlike EBVs in the Ecosystem Structure and Ecosystem Function classes, which also describe attributes of defined areas, the focus here is on the compositional diversity of organisms making up ecosystems, rather than the emergent structural or functional properties of those systems.

Many different sources of in-situ and remote-sensing data can potentially contribute to the measurement of Community Composition EBVs. In some cases, these variables can be derived from the same primary observations of species occurrence, incidence or abundance used to derive Species Populations EBVs, through aggregation and analysis of data for multiple species. Rapid advances in new observation technologies – e.g. hyperspectral remote sensing; metabarcoding or metagenomic analysis of eDNA samples; automatic retrieval of pair-wise interactions from video-cameras; artificial intelligence to infer potential interactions from existing knowledge and trait data – are also opening up unprecedented opportunities for more direct, and highly cost-effective, measurement of Community Composition EBVs.

About Community Composition WG
Co-Leads

Simon Ferrier
CSIRO

Wilfried Thuiller
University Grenoble Alpes
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Key objectives
  1. Develop a detailed conceptual framework describing more clearly the focus and scope of the Community Composition EBV class, and articulating how this class complements, and interacts with, the other major EBV classes.
  2. Define, and formally describe, a coherent set of individual EBVs within the Community Composition class.
  3. Identify existing and emerging sources of in-situ and remote-sensing data, and integrative modelling techniques, for populating Community Composition EBVs; and work with relevant initiatives and communities-of-practice around the world to better link and synthesise existing data streams, and to stimulate and guide new monitoring efforts.
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