A central goal of ecology is to determine the mechanisms that explain large-scale patterns of abundance and distribution of the earths organisms. For most organisms, however, these mechanisms remain elusive. In an article in the August 2005 issue of The American Naturalist, Stefan A. Schnitzer reports that the abundance of lianas (woody vines), a taxonomically diverse and important group of plants, actually decreases in tropical forests as mean annual precipitation increases, a pattern precisely the opposite of that of nearly all other plant types.
Schnitzer proposes a novel mechanistic theory to explain this pattern, drawing support from several independent lines of empirical evidence. The theory is based on the ability of lianas to undergo less water stress and thus grow during seasonal droughts, while their competitors remain mostly dormant. This capacity for dry season growth gives lianas a competitive advantage that, over many decades, may result in higher abundance of lianas in seasonal tropical forests. In aseasonal wet forests, however, this competitive advantage is lost, explaining the relative paucity of lianas. The theory is then extended to explain the striking patterns of liana abundance at two additional spatial scales: the decrease in lianas along the latitudinal gradient, from the tropics northward, and the clumped distribution of lianas at the local, within-forest scale.
This researcj explains both the patterns of abundance and distribution of an important group of plants, as well as provides a framework that can be used to predict the change in liana abundance worldwide with global climate change.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
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