The study, the first of its kind, was published this week online in the British Ecological Society’s prestigious Journal of Ecology.
“This study provides good evidence that we can take any group of species and predict how individual species will respond to changes in the environment through events such as climate change or habitat loss,” says lead author Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The researchers analysed life-history and ecological traits in more than 8900 species of the legume, or the Fabaceae plant family, and found a correlation between evolved species’ traits and a particular susceptibility to a species becoming threatened or invasive.
“The urgency and scale of the global biodiversity crisis means we need good generalised predictors of a species’ likelihood of going extinct or becoming invasive in non-native areas,” says Associate Professor Bradshaw.
“Previous studies have been limited by studying one or other of these ‘fates’ in isolation.
“Developing evidence-based rules of thumb for categorising poorly studied species according to their susceptibility will aid decision makers in choosing best ways to allocate finite conservation resources.”
Lists of ‘species to watch’ - both threatened and potentially invasive - should be expanded based on ranking of ‘susceptibility traits’, Associate Professor Bradshaw says. Associate Professor Bradshaw is also employed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute as a senior scientist.
“Our results are particularly valuable where there is sustained habitat loss or fragmentation, especially given the predictions that climate change will simultaneously promote the expansion of invasive alien species and greater extinction rates in others,” he says.
Robyn Mills | newswise
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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