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

nachricht The disappearance of common species
01.02.2018 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

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: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>