Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers explore ecological issues at annual meeting

28.07.2005


An egg mass of the pine processionary moth on a Scots pine tree near Mont Avic, Italian Alps, one of the regions where the moth has recently expanded to high elevations.


Graduate student Dana Warren, M.S. ’02, examines accumulations of in-stream wood that resulted from the 1998 ice storm in an eastern Adirondacks creek.


Fruit-eating fish in South America help disperse fruit trees during flood season. Fungi that attack sea fans get even nastier when the tropical waters warm by just a few degrees, and although sea fans counterattack with upgraded defenses, the fungi win out. A moth that attacks pine trees has expanded its range in the past three decades, and tests show that global warming is to blame.

These are just three of the research results that almost 50 Cornell University scientists will present at the Ecological Society of America’s 90th annual meeting, Aug. 7-12, in Montreal. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend.

Below are some highlights of the work to be presented.

  • Fruit-eating fish in South America are so heavily fished that they may not be commercially viable in 20 years. Yet a new study by Cornell graduate student Jill Anderson and her adviser, Alexander Flecker, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB), find that fish that eat fruit not only are critical in dispersing fruit seeds during flood season -- carrying them five miles in three days in some cases -- but also deposit the seeds into flooded forests, where the seeds germinate much more quickly after the floods recede than seeds that remain in fruit pulp.


  • Corals such as seas fans are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations and are greatly stressed in today’s oceans. Using one of the most thoroughly characterized coral-disease systems in the world in the Caribbean, Cornell graduate student Jessica Ward and her adviser, Drew Harvell, associate professor, EEB, have found that sea fans produce more potent antifungal compounds when the water temperature increases by just 3 degrees Fahrenheit. "But unfortunately for the sea fans, the fungus compensates for this increase in potency by growing faster and therefore overwhelming the efforts of the sea fans to fight them off," said Ward. "This indicates that very small changes in temperature can have large impacts on the system."

  • The pine processionary moth attacks pine trees in the Mediterranean and in the past three decades has expanded its range boundary some 54 miles north and 750 feet higher in elevation in the Italian Alps. By determining the minimum nest and night-air temperatures required for the moth larval feeding, Cornell graduate student Michael Stastny (EEB) and Andrea Battisti of the University of Padova, Italy, tested larval colonies at ever colder sites to see how they fare. "We found that the recent warming trend in the region has been driving the expansion of the moth’s range by increasing winter survival," explained Stastny. "We expect that global warming will continue to enhance the moth’s survival in previously prohibitive environments, causing further latitudinal and altitudinal expansion. Our work highlights the need to develop temperature-based predictive models for future range shifts of winter-limited species, with potential applications in management."

  • Fish play a critical role in recycling nutrients in tropical freshwaters, and different fish recycle nutrients at very different rates. Cornell researchers have conducted the first study exploring how individual fish species contribute to aggregate nutrient cycling and thus how eroding biodiversity may affect processes in species-rich ecosystems. Based on work in both a massive lake in tropical Africa and a river in South America, their findings suggest that depleting particular species, perhaps through overfishing or changes to the habitat, can significantly alter nutrient cycling in these ecosystems. "The implication of this work is that human modification of the make-up of animal communities can have subtle yet insidious consequences for ecosystem functioning," said Peter McIntyre, doctoral student in EEB, working with Flecker and with Make Vanni and Jim Hood from Miami University, Ohio.

  • Ice storms are known to damage trees and forests yet may benefit lakes and streams. Cornell postdoctoral associate Andrew Millward, his adviser, Clifford Kraft, associate professor of fishery and aquatic sciences in the Department of Natural Resources, and graduate student Dana Warren, M.S. ’02, examined satellite images of Adirondack forests damaged by the unprecedented 1998 ice storm. "Forest edges along streams and lakes were significantly more susceptible to ice storm damage, and these waters contained large amounts of wood that increased nutrient retention and fish habitat," said Kraft. "These results add to the evidence that ice storms can shape aquatic ecosystems within forested landscapes and highlight the importance of the boundary between forests and aquatic ecosystems."

  • In comparing conventional grain farms that used simplified rotations and received typical inputs of inorganic nitrogen fertilizer to organic farms with diversified, legume-based rotations, Laurie Drinkwater, professor of horticulture, found that total organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations in conventionally managed soils were 40 percent smaller than those of organically managed soils. There were corresponding differences in microbially mediated nitrogen transformations between organically and conventinally managed soils. "Our findings support the idea that integrated management of carbon and nitrogen cycles in agricultural systems alters internal nitrogen cycling processes so that retention of nitrogen is promoted," said Drinkwater.

Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>