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 Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>