Hydroelectric schemes usually generate a barrage of criticism from conservationists. But the flooding of a Venezuelan valley 20 years ago has provided ecologists with the ideal outdoor laboratory to answer one of ecologys oldest and thorniest questions: why is the world green?
Reporting their results in the March issue of the British Ecological Societys Journal of Ecology, a team lead by Professor John Terborgh of Duke University says that the role of predators is the key to keeping the world green, because they keep the numbers of plant-eating herbivores under control. Their results support the so-called “green world hypothesis” first proposed in 1960 by Hairston, Smith and Slobodkin and seem to lay to rest the competing theory that plants protect themselves from being eaten through the physical and chemical defences they have developed.
Despite being nearly 50 years old, the green world hypothesis has been almost impossible to test until now. According to Terborgh: “Since the landmark paper by Hairston et al, ecologists have been debating whether herbivores are limited by plant defences or by predators. The matter is trivially simple in principle, but in practice the challenge of experimentally creating predator-free environments in which herbivores can increase without constraint has proven almost insurmountable.”
Becky Allen | alfa
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
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09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
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