There are many relationships between ecosystem properties and species (Jones and Lawton, 1995) with the potential links described by five hypotheses: 1. The null hypothesis claims that there is no effect of species diversity on ecosystem processes. The following hypotheses imply biological mechanisms. 2. The diversity–stability hypothesis predicts that ecosystem productivity and recovery increase as the number of species increases (Johnson et al. 1996). 3. The rivet hypothesis predicts a threshold in species richness, below which ecosystem function declines steadily and above which changes in species richness are not reflected by changes in ecosystem function (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1981; Vitousek and Hooper 1993). 4. The redundant species hypothesis states that species loss has little effect on ecosystem processes if the losses are within the same functional group (Walker 1992) 5. The idiosyncratic response hypothesis suggests that as diversity changes so do ecocosystem processes (Lawton 1994, Lawton and Brown 1994). There have been both field and laboratory attempts to test these hypotheses, (Naeem and Li 1998), however, the interpretation and the generality of the results remain contentious (Tilman 1999). A fundamental reason for such uncertainty is that the hypotheses are not driven by a comprehensive theory of the relationship between species properties and ecosystem processes (Tilman et al., 1997). We propose that the foundations for the necessary theory are in models of the distribution of resources and their utilization by organisms. This is because ecosystem processes such as primary production, decomposition, mineralization, and evapotranspiration are dependent on the processing of resources by the species that are producers, consumers, and decomposers. A theory that links the direct participation of species in ecosystem processes may resolve differences among the various hypotheses or identify how they complement each other. From a community perspective, a theory of resource utilization is based on two alternative assumptions: 1. The rate of ecosystem processes is determined by the few species that are most efficient in using and converting resources. For example, in a desert system, dominant species are those that are proficient in using water for biomass production or in converting inorganic matter into organic materials.
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