Ancient woodlands in Europe may have been remarkably similar to the dense, dark forests of ancient folklore according to a paper published today in the British Ecological Societys Journal of Ecology.
The paper by Dr Fraser Mitchell of Trinity College Dublin provides important new evidence about the nature of ancient woodlands in temperate Europe, which has been the source of much controversy among forest ecologists. In 2000, the Dutch ecologist Frans Vera challenged the prevailing ecological view of ancient woodland as closed canopy forest by arguing that ancient woodlands would have resembled modern parkland because of the action of large grazing animals such as aurochs (primitive cattle), tarpan (wild horses), deer and wild boar.
There are no stands of primeval virgin woodland in Europe today, so ecologists analyse tree pollen, several thousands of years old, preserved in lakes and peat bogs to reconstruct primeval forest. But the analysis is open to interpretation, as Dr Mitchell explains: “As every hay fever sufferer knows, pollen blows about in the wind and this mixing of pollen from different sources places some imprecision on our reconstructions. This has fuelled debate among European ecologists as to how pollen data should be interpreted in relation to Vera’s hypothesis. The crux of the debate is: did the forest control the grazers or did the grazers control the forest? The traditional view implies that forest structure dictated the carrying capacity of grazing animals whereas Vera’s hypothesis dictates that the density of grazing animals controlled forest structure.”
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The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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