Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New law discovered in a hole in a tree

24.06.2005


Researchers have discovered a new universal biological law whilst looking in holes in trees near Oxford according to a paper published in the journal Science on 24 June 2005.



The scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and University of Oxford found that patterns of abundance and genetic diversity of microorganisms living in water-filled holes in trees were similar to patterns found in higher animal and plant communities.

The study looked at the relationship between number of species and size of the habitat - one of the oldest patterns in ecology is that the bigger the area the more the species. The scientists investigated if this relationship held true for the world of microorganisms and found, to their surprise, that it did.


Paper author Chris van der Gast from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said: “If microorganisms follow the same laws as plants and animals it will make our job a lot easier. Understanding these relationships has major medical, agriculture and pollution control applications”.

Dr van der Gast went on to say that: “wastewater treatment plants could benefit from this work. At the moment the sludge tanks are a black box – we know the bacteria break down the waste but we don’t really know exactly how it works. If we understand better how these organisms function we can engineer domestic and industrial sewage plants to be more efficient.”

Scientists previously thought that biodiversity at the microbial level was fundamentally different than that for larger organisms, such as plants and mammals.

Dr van der Gast said: “The species-area relationship is used extensively in conservation studies to make decisions on how best to manage biodiversity. For plants and animals the law allows us to estimate population distributions, numbers of individuals and species diversity.”

The team believe that if this law can be applied to the microbial world researchers can improve many key industrial processes that make use of microorganisms.

Dr van der Gast added: “Microbial communities are vitally important. For example, they help to promote plant growth and protect plants against disease, as well as cleaning up pollution. By knowing the laws that govern natural communities of microbes we can decide whether or not to intervene when pollution occurs.”

Owen Gaffney | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>