Within the framework of the GLORIA project, researchers from all over Europe have gathered information about alpine plants from all European mountain ranges.
Alpine plants are disappearing
GLORIA, which started as an EU project examining biodiversity and changes in all European mountain ranges, has studied summits from the Sierra Nevada in the south to the Scandinavian mountain range in the north, and from Scotland in the west to the Urals and the Caucasus in the east. The results show that species which prefer a colder environment are disappearing from the mountain ranges in Southern Europe. Since many of these species have small distribution areas, they are now threatened with extinction.
“These species have migrated upwards, but sooner or later the mountain reaches its summit,” explains researcher and biologist Ulf Molau. “Many alpine plant species are disappearing from mountain ranges in Southern Europe, and for some of them – those that are only found in a single mountain range – the outlook is extremely bleak.”
Mapping the mountain ranges
Over a period of ten years, researchers around Europe have gathered samples from 13 different mountain regions. Using digital technology and intensive on-site field work, they have been able to study a grid pattern of square metres, carefully selected on different high mountain summits, from the tree line up to the highest peaks. The digital photographs provide a detailed picture of which species have disappeared between 2001 and the present day.
“Every research square is digitally photographed so that we can find our way back to the exact same position after ten years or more, with centimetre precision,” continues Professor Molau. “And by rolling out an analysis network, small 10 x 10 cm squares can be re-mapped.”
Today, the researchers are able to note that species are migrating upwards and that the variety of species in Southern European mountain regions has declined during the ten years in which samples have been taken.
Woodland species are climbing
In our Scandinavian mountain range, the changes are taking place at a slower rate.
“Here, alpine plant species generally have a much wider distribution, often across the entire Arctic, when compared with species in mountain ranges such the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Caucasus. What we are seeing in Sweden is increased upward migration of woodland species, which in the long term may start to outcompete the alpine ‘specialists’.”
Professor Molau has studied both plants and animals in Sweden, at Latnjajaure in Abisko close to the Norwegian border.
“By analysing small networks of squares, we can see what has appeared and what has disappeared.”
Today, GLORIA is a mega-network covering all the world’s mountain regions, but it is the original European arm of GLORIA that has reached a stage where researchers have started to observe changes.
Find out more about GLORIA at http://www.gloria.ac.at/res/gloria_europe/default.cfmFor more information, please contact:
Helena Aaberg | idw
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences