Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Allison Barner

Second Advisor

Cait Cleaver

Third Advisor

Jen Meredith


Ecosystem services aim to quantify the value of nature provided to humans. However, Ecosystem services are typically measured at the level of the ecosystem as a whole and do not consider interactions between species in an ecosystem. Ultimately, the species in an ecosystem determine the services that are provided. Measuring ecosystem services at the landscape level misses the complex interactions and changing biodiversity of ecosystems. Currently, there is no accepted framework to link ecosystem services to species. In this thesis, I developed a framework to link Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP) to species. NCP includes 18 specific contributions (i.e. 18 NCPs) that link ecosystem contributions to people’s quality of life. I applied this framework to the Gulf of Maine (GOM) rocky intertidal ecosystem using data on trophic interactions in the food web and ecological survey data from the 1970s and 2010s. In this analysis, there are 91 species in the GOM providing NCPs and four species contributing to all NCPs that I measured. There is a significant increase in the percent of species providing NCPs through time and a significant decrease in the abundance of species providing NCPs in the GOM rocky intertidal in the 2010s. Linking NCPs to species creates an interdisciplinary measure to understand the importance of biodiversity in ecosystem service analyses.


Ecosystem services, Nature's Contributions to People, rocky intertidal, climate change, biodiversity