A new paper looks at the issues facing biodiversity throughout the world's mountain regions, sets agenda for conservation
A recently published paper provides a history of scientific research on mountain ecosystems, looks at the issues threatening wildlife in these systems, and sets an agenda for biodiversity conservation throughout the world's mountain regions.
The paper, "Mountain gloom and mountain glory revisited: A survey of conservation, connectivity, and climate change in mountain regions," appears online in the Journal of Mountain Ecology. Authors are Charles C. Chester of Tufts University, Jodi A. Hilty of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Lawrence S. Hamilton of World Commission on Protected Areas/IUCN.
Mountains cover about 27 percent of the earth's surface. They inspire awe and cultural lore, and directly influence the patterns of settlement and movement by humans and wildlife. Despite some degree of protection due to their inherent inaccessibility, mountain regions are still fragile ecosystems threatened by human-related impacts such as logging and erosion, acid deposition, and climate change.
For some wildlife species, these impacts are problematic. Wolverines, for example, depend on cold snow-pack to den and store food. As this resource becomes less permanent due to warming, wolverine populations may become physically and genetically isolated—leading to decline of the species
"Scientists and conservationists have long recognized the importance of mountains for both biodiversity and human well-being," said co-author Charles Chester. "If we are going to achieve effective and lasting protection of wildlife and resources such as water, mountains have to be pre-eminent in our thinking and implementation of conservation measures."
How do we protect species from human-related impacts and the perils of isolation? The authors examine the concept and importance of maintaining connectivity (ability of wildlife populations to move among landscapes between habitat "islands" such as mountain tops, forest fragments and isolated wetlands) and corridor ecology. Looking at both pro- and con- arguments of an ongoing corridor debate, they present criteria under which corridors may and may not be effective.
The report also examines climate change and its impact on high elevation environments, citing findings that impacts in mountain ecosystems may be greater than any other after those in the arctic. In their conclusion, the authors state that it is important for conservationists to see climate change not as one of numerous independent variables acting on species survival in mountain landscapes, but as an exacerbating force over the many direct human alterations to these areas.
Co-author and Executive Director of WCS's North America Program Jodi Hilty said, "The distribution of biodiversity in mountain ecosystems is determined by such things as elevation and slope. These variables and the relative intactedness of these ecosystems is likely to be a critical factor in maintaining the health of montane species in the face of climate change."
The authors conclude that three distinct research communities focused on corridor ecology, climate change and mountain research will need to work together and provide support in addressing four key questions:
"Protection of mountain diversity (both biological and cultural) depends on the collaboration of these three research communities in tackling these important questions" said Lawrence (Larry) Hamilton. "Mountains have proven to offer an excellent milieu for both inter- and multi-disciplinary research among the natural sciences, and between natural and social sciences"
Ultimately, the authors state that these questions "encapsulate a unified mountain research agenda." By a process of answering and reframing the questions, the research community can inform and increase adaptive management capacity.
Stephen Sautner | Eurek Alert!
Marine vessel tracking system also a lifesaver for wildlife
12.02.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Stability in ecosystems: Asynchrony of species is more important than diversity
12.02.2016 | Technische Universität München
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
12.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
12.02.2016 | Life Sciences
12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering