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!
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
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.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
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...
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