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
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences