It is a premise in ecology that undisturbed ecosystems are relatively stable, and hence that sudden changes in ecosystem are likely to result from external, mostly human influences. Johan van de Koppel, Daphne van der Wal, Jan P. Bakker, and Peter M. J. Herman present a combined theoretical and empirical study indicating that natural processes within salt-marsh ecosystems can lead to ecosystem destruction. They model salt-marsh development based on the mutually enforcing interaction between plant growth and accumulation of sediment.
Observations from Dutch salt marshes confirm the model predictions that at first, plant-sediment feedback buffers the salt marsh from the strong physical gradient that characterizes the marine-terrestrial boundary, and improves plant growth along the gradient. However, as a consequence of this process, the edge of the salt marsh and the adjacent intertidal flat becomes increasingly steep and vulnerable to wave attack. Disturbance due to for instance a storm, may induce a cascade of vegetation collapse and severe erosion on the cliff edge, leading to salt-marsh destruction. Seawards of this cliff new pioneer vegetation can develop, leading to rejuvenation of the salt marsh.
The study shows that on short timescales, natural processes improve the functioning of salt-marsh ecosystems. On longer timescales, however, the same processes increase ecosystem vulnerability and may lead to collapse of salt-marsh vegetation.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
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In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
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Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
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