The Cardinale lab is perhaps best known for its leadership in organizing major data syntheses that have helped foster a consensus about the probable consequences of biodiversity loss for humanity.

Cardinale himself has organized numerous working groups funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the United Nations Environmental Program, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Socio-Economic Environmental Synthesis Center. In these working groups, the Cardinale lab group has assembled extensive datasets of 1000s of experiments and observational studies that have quantified how changes in biodiversity impact a wide variety of ecological processes and ecosystem services for organisms inhabiting 30 biomes on 5 continents. These syntheses have led to publication of 15 formal meta-analyses.

In 2012 our lab group led an invited review for a special issue of Nature that was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. In that paper, we synthesized over 1,700 papers that have examined biodiversity's impact on 34 ecosystem goods and services. This synthesis revealed a remarkable level of generality in how biodiversity impacts the functioning of Earth's ecosystems and the services they provide to society, and its findings have had a substantial impact on policy and management around the globe.

Example publications

Duffy, J. E., C. M. Godwin, and B. J. Cardinale. 2017. Biodiversity effects in the wild are common and as strong as key drivers of productivity. Nature, 549:261-264 (doi:10.1038/nature23886).

Cardinale, B. J., J. E. Duffy, A. Gonzalez, D. U. Hooper, C. Perrings, P. Venail, A. Narwani, G. M. Mace, D. Tilman, D. A. Wardle, A. P. Kinzig, G. C. Daily, M. Loreau, J. B. Grace, A. Larigauderie, D. Srivastava, and S. Naeem. 2012. Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature, 486:59-67 (doi:10.1038/nature11148).

Key collaborators



  • Department Head, Ecosystem Science and Management