Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Managing nature reserves using ecological disturbances can easily go wrong

29.11.2010
Ecological disturbances are not necessarily a bad thing – deliberate disturbances can actually be used to preserve or even increase biodiversity in a nature reserve.

The outcome depends on countless different factors, but many mistakes are made by those working with ecological disturbances and biodiversity, claims a researcher from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

“Nobody knows exactly what biodiversity is, and so different researchers test different measures of it and can draw completely different conclusions depending on the measures they’ve used,” says Robin Svensson from the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg.

“If you test a hypothesis about the change in the number of species with a measure of how evenly species are distributed, rather than how many there are, you’ll always be in trouble. It’s rather like when comedian Kurt Olsson famously asked record-breaking high-jumper Patrik Sjöberg how ‘wide’ he’d jumped – or counting the number of apples on a pear tree!”

Ecological disturbances can come in many different forms and have very different effects on biodiversity. Common disturbances in nature include forest fires, storms, floods, waves, trawling, pollution, drought, ice cover and driftwood scraping species off rocky shores. Biological disturbances can also be included under this term, in other words animals that eat other animals and plants or stamp out other living creatures in their path.

The most concrete and manageable definition is that a disturbance must kill or remove organisms in a community (an area with co-existing species), so making it easier for new species to become established. The seemingly innocuous sub-clause about the establishment of new species has proved surprisingly important when testing ecological explanatory models for disturbances and biodiversity.

The effects of a disturbance depend on what kind of disturbance it is, how it is measured, and which species are in the community when it occurs. Also playing a role when testing hypotheses about biodiversity and disturbances are the degree of competition between species and establishment of new species, and the measure of biodiversity used in the study.

“If you don’t know how disturbances work and how they will affect the community where they are introduced, they can easily have the opposite to the desired effect,” says Svensson. “How you calculate the effect will naturally have a major impact when managing nature reserves with the help of ecological disturbances.”

The best-known example of this type of management can be found in Yellowstone, the world’s oldest national park. In Sweden the method is used at Alvaret on the island of Öland, where the landscape is kept clear by grazing (a form of biological disturbance), and on the Koster Islands in the Kosterhavet national park off western Sweden.

For further information, please contact: 
Robin Svensson, Department of Marine Ecology

Tel.: +46 (0)52 66 86 84

E-mail: robin.svensson@marecol.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/23772
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

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

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>