Mapping change in biodiversity and ecosystem function research: Food webs foster integration of experiments and science policy.
Human activities are causing major changes in biological communities worldwide. Due to concern about the consequences of these changes, an academic conversation about biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) has emerged over the last few decades. Here we use a keyword co-occurrence analysis to characterize and review 28 years of research focused on these terms. We find that the rapidly growing literature has developed in four research domains. The first two domains “BEF Experiments” and “Science Policy” emerge early, and persist through time, as core research areas with emphases on experiments and management, respectively. The second two domains, “Agricultural Landscapes” and “Aquatic Food Webs”, arise as integrative domains that connect divisions in scientific discussion surrounding BEF Experiments and Science Policy. Terms related to species interactions (i.e. pollinator, predator, food web) appear more commonly in the two integrative domains reflecting shared interests of many scientists focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Despite shared interests in food webs, research in the four domains differ with respect to their spatial scale, baseline comparisons, and currency of measurements. Food-web research that bridges these divides should be pushed to the forefront of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research priorities.