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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University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
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