Dataset for the diversity of diversity studies: retrospectives and future directions

<p>Diversity is a critical concept for ecology and evolution and one of the most political. The use and delineation of this concept however is broad and applies to a wide spectrum of studies spanning genes and populations to regional and even global patterns of biotic assemblages including map- ping, measuring, interactions, phylogenetics, speciation, and conservation (Purvis and Hector 2000). Management and environmental lobbyists also use declining diversity as a means to justify policy decisions (Sarkar et al. 2006, Heller and Zavaleta 2009, Rands et al. 2010, Wong et al. 2015) yet in some instances diversity is not universally declining nor necessarily linked to function (Naeem 2002, Thomas 2013, Dornelas et al. 2014, Oliver and Morecroft 2014). Here, we do not wish to engage in the biodiversity-ecosystem func- tion debate (Huston 1997, Loreau et al. 2001, Srivastava and Vellend 2005, Weigelt et al. 2008) nor enter into a protracted conservation values discussion (Chee 2004, Brooks et al. 2006, Wong et al. 2015) but rather to identify the most important current and promising elements in the primary study of diversity – particularly since the ‘diversity of diversity studies’ has expanded profoundly in the last several years. A cursory search on Web of Science in 2015, restricted to the last 2 yr, simply for ecology, biodiversity, and evolu- tion literally lists thousands of relevant publications in almost every subdomain of these fields. Here, we have provided retrospective and future directions from a representative set of topics from within this field. These papers were derived from a set of oral presentations at the Nordic Society special symposium during the Intecol 11th INTECOL congress ‘Ecology: into the next 100 years’ in 2013.</p>