Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New constellations of species change ecosystems

10.06.2011
Human activities that are causing global climate changes and destroying habitats in nature are leading to the extinction of many species from the earth’s ecosystems. At the same time many species are expanding the range of their habitat.

An article by Professor David Wardle at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå in collaboration with researchers in the UK, the US, and the Netherlands, now being published in the prestigious journal Science, sheds new light on this subject.

The scientists offer suggestions for how research can get better at understanding species loss and the simultaneous gain of new species and how this affects the function of the ecosystem.

At the same time as species disappear or are made extinct, many species expand their range as a result of humans introducing new species to new environments and because certain species benefit from ongoing climate change.

Some researchers have studied the consequences of losing a species in an ecosystem, while others have been interested in what happens when new species are added.

Even though species loss and species gain occur in parallel, researchers have not studied these two phenomena at the same time. However, it is important to do so if we wish to understand how human activities impact ecosystems’ production, nutritional cycle, and capacity to store carbon.

The authors of the article make it clear that the species gained by the ecosystems due to human activities affect the ecosystems in a different way than the species that are lost. This means that the main impact of human activity on ecosystems may arise from our replacing species with other species that behave differently. It is stressed that these effects are most acute when the species dominate (have great biomass) in the ecosystem or have such key characteristics that they determine how the ecosystems function.

In the article the authors highlight that much remains unknown regarding how this simultaneous loss and gain of species can affect ecosystems.

Considerable and important advances have been made regarding how and why new (invasive) species change ecosystems, because much of the research in this area has focused on how the properties of the new species impact the ecosystems.

Today we have limited knowledge of how species loss affects ecosystems, because this has mainly been studied in a random selection of species in controlled experiments, despite the fact that species do not disappear from ecosystems by chance.

The authors emphasize the necessity of enhancing our knowledge of the changes in characteristics that have occurred as a result of species being lost and new species being added before researchers can say anything about how human activity impacts the function of ecosystems.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Responses to Species Gains and Losses
David A. Wardle1,*, Richard D. Bardgett2, Ragan M. Callaway3, Wim H. Van der Putten4
Science 10 June 2011:
Vol. 332 no. 6035 pp. 1273-1277
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197479
Contact: David Wardle, Department of Forest Resource Management, SLU
mobile phone: +46 (0)70-560 32 10, phone: +46 (0)90-7868471
david.wardle@slu.se

Susanna SJöberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6035/1273.abstract

Further reports about: human activities human activity new species

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>