Functional diversity: a review of methodology and current knowledge in freshwater macroinvertebrate research

Dénes Schmera, Jani Heino, János Podani, Tibor Erős, Sylvain Dolédec

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

47 Citations (Scopus)


Although several studies have examined the functional diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates, the variety of methodologies combined with the absence of a synthetic review make our understanding of this field incomplete. Therefore, we reviewed the current methodology for assessing functional diversity in freshwater macroinvertebrate research. Our review showed that most papers quantified functional diversity using biological traits, among which feeding habits were the most common traits probably due to the assumed links between feeding and ecosystem functions. A large number of diversity measures have been applied for quantifying functional diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrate assemblages, among which Rao’s quadratic entropy looks like the most frequent. In most papers, functional diversity was positively related to taxon richness, and functional redundancy was a key concept in explaining this correlation. Most studies detected strong influence of the environmental factors as well as human impact on functional diversity. Finally, our review revealed that functional diversity research is biased towards European running waters and is hindered by yet insufficient information on the autecology of macroinvertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017



  • Environmental variables
  • Functional redundancy
  • Human impact
  • Taxonomic resolution
  • Traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this