Ecosystem functioning and functional approaches on marine macrobenthic fauna: A research synthesis towards a global consensus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The global trend in losing biodiversity is affecting ecosystems due to changes in their functions and services. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning has become increasingly topical over the last decades, and still a developing research field. Marine macrobenthic fauna are important providers of ecosystem functioning by regulating the fluxes of energy and matter. However, anthropogenic impacts have triggered changes in their structure and function at the community and ecosystem level. Despite advances in recent years, a wider application of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning relationship in benthic communities has been restrained by missing information on biological traits of species and inconsistencies in terminology, methodologies and approaches used. This review synthesizes the current status of knowledge on the functional approaches of marine macrobenthic fauna and their contribution to ecosystem functioning, using a new method named research weaving analysis. We thus provide a research synthesis combining bibliometric analysis and systematic mapping (spread of evidence). We described advancements in the current knowledge and synthesized the most common functional approaches, terminology and numerical methodologies used. A conceptual step-by-step guide is presented to assist future assessments of ecosystem functioning for marine macrobenthic fauna, and suggestions made for coherent use of terminology, trait selection and metrics to measure ecosystem functioning. The analyses presented will support the development of a framework to conduct globally comparable analyses of ecosystem functioning in marine benthic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106379
Number of pages13
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Bibliometrix
  • Biological traits
  • Ecosystem function
  • Functional diversity
  • Macrofauna
  • Research weaving


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecosystem functioning and functional approaches on marine macrobenthic fauna: A research synthesis towards a global consensus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this